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Two district employees recognized as ‘Community Builders’ at city council meeting

Anab Abtow and Brian Ribnick received a “Community Builder Award” from the Burnsville City Council at their Nov. 4 City Council meeting. Abtow and Ribnick were two of 12 community members/organizations to receive the award. 

Anab Abtow is an educational assistant at Sky Oaks Elementary who has taken on an advocacy and educational role for students, parents and educators. Abtow is praised as an invaluable part of the school staff who always has a smile, a hug or kind words for students, parents and colleagues. In addition, Abtow proudly and happily shares her East African culture. From volunteering with the Burnsville International Festival to creating displays at other local festivals, she opens doors to conversations among friends and strangers alike.

In1980, Brian Ribnick began his career with District 191 as a math and science teacher at Metcalf Junior High. Though he retired in 2017, Ribnick continues to work with students and staff as the school district’s chess coordinator and coach of the Metcalf Middle School chess team. With Brian’s help, the school district now has chess clubs at every school – making District 191 the only district in Minnesota that teaches ALL students how to play chess. Burnsville High School now has more state chess titles than any team in Minnesota and more state titles than any other activity in the history of the school. In addition, Brian has led Burnsville High School to a national title, and Metcalf Middle School to 31 state titles and 20 national titles. Only one school in America has won more.

Other community members/organizations that received an award are:

Amber Cameron, International Festival of Burnsville Committee
Frontline Church – Sheldon and Crystal Beilke
Jack Kennelly, Burnsville Historical Society
James Galbrecht, Burnsville Community Foundation
Jon Seybold, Block Captain
Nancy Sand, City Hall Volunteer
Nate Miller, Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Tom Johnson, Community Volunteer

The Community Builder Award is presented annually to individuals, community groups and businesses who – through their volunteer or work life – build a brighter future for Burnsville.

For more information on the Community Builder Award and complete profiles of award winners, visit

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 12:44