Missouri Foundation for Health has named Dr. Kathy Fenger, Head of School at LOGOS, as the 2020 Dr. Corinne Walentik Leadership in Health Award honoree. LOGOS is a therapeutic school in St. Louis that specializes in behavioral therapy for adolescents. Fenger has spent her nearly 30-year career there helping students that struggle with mental and emotional issues, and her leadership extends far beyond the school. She will be recognized on December 16, at the Foundation’s (virtual) annual event.
Fenger herself was a graduate of LOGOS in 1979 and says that she is living proof that there are no limits to what her students can achieve. Before becoming head of school, she served as executive vice president, adolescent therapist, special education coordinator, and English department head. No matter what position she held, her commitment to her students’ mental health and well-being were always at the core of her work. “My dream became to lead LOGOS into being a powerhouse in addressing mental health in struggling youth. To treat and instill hope in kids who had lost hope,” said Fenger.
Fenger believes it is critical to provide educators, parents, and practitioners with cutting-edge, evidence-based approaches for dealing with the trauma, increase in suicidal ideation, and emerging mental health issues that now affect so many adolescents.
During her tenure at the school she has touched the lives of more than 1,000 young people and their families, but her work doesn’t end there. She sits on the board of directors for the Independent Schools of St. Louis, where she fosters understanding and inclusion for teens with mental illness. She also consults regularly with the Special School District of St. Louis County, St. Louis Public Schools, and other districts. At LOGOS she manages several contractual collaborations with school districts throughout the region to help assist additional youth that suffer from trauma and mental health issues.
“Dr. Fenger has devoted her life to improving children’s mental health, which is something Dr. Walentik would have found quite inspiring,” said MFH President and CEO Bob Hughes. “Poor behavioral health is a key risk factor for negative physical health outcomes throughout the lifespan. Helping these kids get their lives on track and addressing their mental health struggles could change the trajectories of their whole lives.”
The Walentik award was created to honor the late Dr. Walentik’s commitment to serving vulnerable groups, especially children. Each year the award is presented to a health leader in Missouri who exemplifies the passion, dedication, and energy that she brought to her work. Fenger will receive a $2,500 individual award and, per her direction, $25,000 will go to LOGOS School. She is generously donating her individual award to the school as well.
Fenger joins an impressive group of honorees, including Katie Plax, Anne Francioni, Jason Purnell, DiAnne Mueller, Brittany “Tru” Kellman, and Nick Holekamp. “To say that I’m humbled is an understatement,” said Fenger. “To be considered in the company of these folks who have done such groundbreaking working in our region is incredible. To be honored with this award, to learn about Dr. Walentik’s legacy, it blew me away. It’s a privilege and a blessing.”