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SCPS Employees Honored at Staff Excellence Banquet

SCPS Employees Honored at Staff Excellence Banquet
Posted on 05/05/2017
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Teachers of the Year, New Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year, and Team of the Year Recognized

 

 


Shenandoah County Public Schools honored 2016-17 outstanding employees at the division's Staff Excellence Banquet held on April 26, 2017, at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School.   Teachers of the Year, New Teacher of the Year, Team of the Year, and Employee of the Year were recognized. (Group photo also appears at end of article. Photos by Tim Taylor.)

 
2017 Staff Excellence Dr. J hosts Banquet.jpg Dr. Johnston, at the podium, welcomes employees,  guests,  and honorees to the Staff Excellence Banquet.

 

Dr. Mark Johnston, Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools, welcomed everyone to the Staff Excellence Banquet.  He thanked both the Shenandoah Education Foundation and the Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation “for their continued support and generous contributions to the success of our faculty, staff, teachers, and school division.”  He also recognized the members of the Shenandoah County School Board and thanked them for their hard work during what has been a long and difficult budget year.


School Board members at Staff Excellence Banqu
School Board members Cyndy Walsh,  Karen Whetzel, and Katie Freakley enjoy conversation before the banquet.  Ms. Walsh and Ms. Whetzel  also serve on the Board of Directors of the Shenandoah Education Foundation.  


Dr. Johnston began staff recognitions with a quote from Margaret Meade:  "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed.  It is the only thing that ever has."

"Every year," Dr. Johnston continued, "we take this opportunity to recognize those in our organization that epitomize the quality, dedication, and energy on behalf of the entire organization. You will hear this evening of very amazing accomplishments. A particular theme, this year, is how much these individuals do above and beyond what is expected. I suspect that has contributed to their nominations for this recognition."

 Before introducing the evening’s honorees, Dr. Johnston noted:  “If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they DO NOT come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.”  Barbara Colorose

 

Teacher of the Year

Erin Kline
Ms. Erin Kline
Kindergarten Teacher
Ashby Lee Elementary School

Ashby Lee Principal Stephen Povlish notes that Ms. Kline’s strengths are her  “specific and intentional lesson plans; her attention to  student academic and social growth; a nurturing, welcoming and interactive classroom and management system; and hands-on activities.” But Mr. Polish is especially impressed at Ms. Kline’s “focus on the development of the whole child, especially as it relates to his/her specific needs. Ashby Lee Speech/Language Pathologist Julie Bell said that she “values Ms. Kline’s expertise and intuition about children and trusts her input on decisions and planning which promote student success. Erin has a gift of relating to parents, peers, and children. She is a true asset at Ashby Lee. “

 

 

Teacher of the Year
Justin Broughman
Justin Broughman
Social Studies Teacher
Central High School

Central High Social Studies Department Chair Kenneth Mason describes Mr. Broughman, “as an engaging and energetic storyteller.   He is able to make history come alive and uses a variety of project-based learning activities to allow students to tell their own stories and demonstrate their knowledge of topics and events.”  First-year teacher Joshua Twery, who was mentored by Mr. Broughman, writes, “Justin went above and beyond the expectations for a mentor. He worked with me for hours at a time answering all of my questions and providing feedback, advice, and encouragement. A student says that Mr. Brougham is her favorite teacher because “he gave me a desire to learn and be involved. He taught me respect, responsibility, and care for others.”  Mr. Casey Morris sums it up:  “Justin is an example to students and faculty alike of what great teaching looks like.”

  

Teacher of the Year
Karleeann Mason
Karleeann Mason
Special Education Teacher
North Fork Middle School

Principal Todd Lynn says about Ms. Mason, “Her passion to help every student be successful is very evident in everything she does. In addition to helping the scholars with academics, one of Ms. Mason’s passions is helping her students with the transition to high school.”  Noting her flexibility, he goes on to say:  “She works hard to meet the students where they are, no matter what they are going through. Assistant Principal Mr. Rice notes that Ms. Mason embraces challenges and adapts to whatever a situation may need. Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher Michelle Coleman notes, “Karleeann fosters high expectations and goals that are attainable. She makes certain that her students are doing what they are supposed to—keeping up with their work and keeping their grades up—while all their accommodations are met.”

 

Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Cooper
Rebecca H. Cooper
Choir/Orchestra Teacher
Peter Muhlenberg Middle School

“Becky is one of those teachers you come across once in a great while,” observes Peter Muhlenberg Middle School Assistant Principal Veronica Zimmerman. “She creates a classroom environment where talent and skill are developed and enhanced with high-quality, innovative and engaging lessons.”  Math Teacher Curt Hoover notes, “Both the Chorus and Orchestra receive superior scores year after year.” Awards and talent aside, Assistant Principal Zimmerman observes, “Becky gets to know every student in her classes as a whole person, not just what their singing talent is but also recognizing their unique strength to help them overcome their struggles and develop a positive self-concept in all aspects of their life.”  A former student concurs:  “Mrs. Cooper has always been someone I have looked up to. She really cares about her students. She has made me the person I am today, and for that I am grateful.”

 

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Teacher of the Year        
Jessica Landman
Jessica “Jessie” Landman
Second Grade Teacher
Sandy Hook Elementary School

Principal Robin Shrum says, “Ms. Landman is a great teacher. She makes real life connections in her classroom, helping students to better understand the content. She is a problem solver; when a student is struggling with something or something is not working, she goes deeper, and figures it out.”  Assistant Principal Cindy Herr notes, “Ms. Landman is one of those teachers who have a natural gift for working with students who have special behavioral needs. She gets to know each student and lets them know that she cares about them, and the students reciprocate. She is able to see the whole child and what each child brings to the table. Her teaching approach helps them overcome their struggles and develop a positive self-worth.”

 

Teacher of the Year
Darla Lisbon
Darla Lisbon
Sixth Grade Teacher
Signal Knob Middle School

“Teaching has been described as a complicated job. Teaching demands breadth and depth of knowledge of subject matter, curriculum, and standards. Teachers must be enthusiastic, have a caring attitude, and a love of learning. Most importantly, teachers must have a true desire to make a difference in the lives of children every single day. Darla Lisbon possesses all of these qualities and more,” notes Signal Knob Principal Holly Rusher. Assistant Principal Ms. Noonan cites Ms. Lisbon’s genuine desire to build strong relationships with students and staff, and her selflessness and kindness:  “Her students know how much she loves and cares for them and as a result they are willing to work hard in her science class.”  Principal Rusher adds,”Darla Lisbon inspires her student to learn in new and authentic ways so that each child in her classroom can reach his or her full potential.”

 Teacher of the Year
Tara Dean
Tara Dean
Biology Teacher
Strasburg High School

Strasburg High School Principal Morgan Saeler describes Ms. Dean as a dynamic and innovative teacher-leader who pushes the boundaries of teaching and learning:  “She is a risk-taker who is willing to try
new ways to engage students in 21stCentury learning skills. Ms. Dean is known for classes that use new ideas, new techniques, and new strategies to keep her students engaged.  One student summed up Ms. Dean’s class by saying, “Learning in her class is so enjoyable. Ms. Dean expects a lot, but she is always trying new things and really cares whether we get it or not.”  Principal Saeler adds, “Ms.  Dean has mentored new teachers, providing them with sound, foundational instructional practices from which they can grow into outstanding teachers themselves. There is no teacher at Strasburg High School more respected for her instructional knowledge than Ms. Dean. She embodies all that we value about teaching and learning in Shenandoah County.”

 

Teacher of the Year
Peggy Dunstan
Peggy Dunstan
Spanish Teacher
Stonewall Jackson High School

School Counselor Aimee Miller notes that for many of our students, Ms. Dunstan is not only a teacher, but also a trusted confidant, and a school ‘mom.’”  Ms. Holly Hoover, Social Studies Teacher, writes, “Peggy Dunstan is by far one the most remarkable teachers I have ever had the privilege to teach within my 21 year career. Peggy challenges students to take risks to learn in new ways while maintaining an environment of safety, encouragement, and empathy.” All who know Ms. Dunstan mention the extra work she willingly takes on.  From working with the World Languages Club and Spanish National Honor Society to translating for students and parents during school enrollment, parent/teacher conferences, or during medical emergencies, Ms. Dunstan gives selflessly of her time. Principal Mike Dorman concludes, “I have found Ms. Dunstan to be one of the hardest working and most student-centered teachers that I have ever worked with in over 20 years in education. The students absolutely love her and her nurturing approach.”

 

Teacher of the Year
Kathryn Strosnider
Kathryn Strosnider
Art Teacher
W.W. Robinson Elementary School

Principal Jennifer Proctor notes, “Ms. Strosnider serves over 1,100 students ranging from Preschool to Fifth Grade. Kathryn’s enthusiasm, love, and passion for teaching show every day as she delivers her lessons and in her interactions with her students. She has mastered the skill of being firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining relationships, and keenly remembering that though she teaches art, she is really teaching ‘children,’ to whom she freely offers love, acceptance, and grace.”  Assistant Principal Ryan Lingle notes that a wide body of research suggests strong correlations between fine arts development and academic success. “Kathryn’s efforts providing students with opportunity rich in social, emotional, and cultural awareness are vital to developing a school community that is welcoming and valued by all stakeholders.”

 

Teacher of the Year
Paje Cross
Paje Cross
Culinary Arts Teacher
Triplett Tech

“Ms. Cross is a great role model and advocate for her students,” writes Triplett Tech Principal Connie Pangle.   Ms. Michele Harbison-Hepner notes that Ms. Cross “encourages students to look critically at their efforts and explain where they could improve. They are also encouraged to learn from one another through open dialogue with each other as well as with the instructor.”  Ms. Katie Rice notes Ms. Cross advocates beyond her classroom to help students reach academic and career success, getting personally involved in “out of the box” solutions such as helping a student with his writing requirement and solving another student’s scheduling conflict so that the student could take advantage of a co-op opportunity at a prestigious restaurant in a neighboring county.  Ms. Pangle concludes, “Ms. Cross is an ambassador for Triplett Tech. Through her many community activities and interests, Ms. Cross advocates for her program, her school, and her students.”

 

This year, SCPS introduced the New Teacher of the Year category to recognize an outstanding, first year teacher.  As he introduced the honoree, Dr. Johnston referenced a quote from Aristotle: ”In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.” 

 

New Teacher of the Year
Jenessa Barch
Ms. Jenessa Barch
Early Childhood Special Education, Pre-KW.W. Robinson Elementary School

Principal Jennifer Proctor writes, “Ms. Barch possesses the soft skills to be a successful teacher that cannot be taught in college or new-teacher meetings. Combine this with the pedagogical knowledge that she is fine tuning as a first-year teacher and Ms. Barch will go far as an educator.”  Ms. Pittella notes that Jenny has endless energy and patience.  A parent writes, “It is clear Ms. Jenny is invested in helping all the children in her class to grow and develop,” and goes on to observe that judging from the progress she has seen in her child, “One would think he had a veteran teacher. Ms. Jenny has been an exceptional addition to Shenandoah County Public Schools.”


Employee of the Year

 “The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was,” said Dr. Johnston.   “The author of this quote is unknown,” he added.  “But probably it was  a secretary!”   Among her many responsibilities, Sheryl Jett, Shenandoah County Public Schools’ Employee of the Year, serves as a secretary and administrative assistant for a number of administrators.

 

Employee of the Year             

Sheryl Jett
Sheryl Jett
Administrative Assistant
Instructional Department
School Board Office

Director of Middle and Secondary Education David Hinegardner emphasized, “The work that she produces is absolutely top quality. Sheryl’s attention to detail is one of the hallmarks that make her excellent work stand out.”  Chadwick Hensley notes that despite the overwhelming amount of work she has to do each day, Sheryl consistently finds ways to help others at the Central office and schools throughout the Division.”  Supervisor of Student Services Deborah Litten says, “Sheryl is the consummate professional; she is one of the best human relations officers we have with our community.  Ms. Jett is invaluable to our department, our school Division, and our community.”

 

Dr. Johnston considered  the following an accurate description of the Maintenance Department: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team” -- Phil Jackson

Team of the Year
Team of the Year
Maintenance Department 
Kris Biller, “Boot” Downey, Tom Counts, Selesta Carter, Danny Ortts.,Andy Kline  Brandon George, Dwayne Ryman, and Gene Dykes

Maintenance Supervisor Mr. Gene Dykes is proud of his team and rightly so. Mr. Dykes notes that with “a staff of only seven technicians the department provides routine and emergency maintenance for over one million square feet of space” covering upkeep of — and this is a partial list— 1,300+ plumbing fixtures, 14,000 light fixtures, 300+ circuit breaker panels, 29 boilers, 59 air handling units, 240 classroom unit ventilators and fan coils, and more. The team’s turnaround time and annual completed-worker-orders per employee — 379 — are well above other Divisions’ average.  Division Athletic Directors write that the Maintenance Team shows maximum persistence, is detail oriented, maintains composure regardless of the challenge or obstacle, and puts safety first. They conclude, “It is more than a job for them. It is a point of pride.”  Finance Director, Ms. Stombock comments on the impact of the Team’s hard work:  “Proper maintenance of our facilities sends a powerful message—the importance a community places on education.”

 

Dr. Johnston concluded the evening with the announcement that Peggy Dunstan, Spanish teacher from Stonewall Jackson High School, is Shenandoah County Public Schools’ 2016-17 Division Teacher of the Year!Peggy Dunstan Division Teacher of the Year

Peggy Dunstan
2016-2017 Division Teacher of the Year
Shenandoah County Public Schools
All who know Ms. Dunstan mention the extra work she willingly takes on.  From working with the World Languages Club and Spanish National Honor Society to translating for students and parents during school enrollment, parent/teacher conferences, or during medical emergencies, Ms. Dunstan gives selflessly of her time.

 “I have found Ms. Dunstan to be one of the hardest working and most student-centered teachers that I have ever worked with in over 20 years in education. The students absolutely love her and her nurturing approach.”  Mike Dorman

Peggy Dunstan will represent Shenandoah County Public Schools in the Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Program.

 

 Staff Excellence
Staff Excellence
First Row from left:  Sheryl Jett, Peggy Dunstan, Jenessa Barch, Erin Kline, Tara Dean, Paje Cross, Karleeann Mason
Second Row from left: Rebecca Cooper, Kathryn Strosnider, Beverly “Boot” Downey, Darla Lisbon, Danny Otts, Selesta Carter Third Row from left: Dwayne Ryman, Kris Biller, Brandon George,  Andy Kline,  Tom Counts, Justin Broughman

                          
Congratulations!

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