SCS recognizes outstanding educational support professionals

The Shelby County School System recognized outstanding educational support professionals of the year during a ceremony on May 5. (Contributed)

The Shelby County School System recognized outstanding educational support professionals of the year during a ceremony on May 5. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

COLUMBIANA—Shelby County Schools recognized the system’s outstanding educational support professionals and awarded the 2015-2016 Educational Support Professional of the Year during a special ceremony at the central office on May 5.

This is the sixth year the district has presented the Educational Support Professional of the Year award, which recognizes the hard work and dedication of educational support professionals at schools and departments throughout the county.

Tina Littlefield, an instructional aide in the self-contained special needs classroom at Vincent Middle/High School, was named the 2015-2016 Educational Support Professional of the Year.

VMHS Principal Dr. Michelle Edwards praised Littlefield’s compassion for the students in her classroom.

“Her heart is this school and the students in that classroom,” Edwards said. “When meeting Ms. Littlefield, she impresses you with her humbleness, respect and coach-ability. She delivers lessons, supports self-care, creates materials, manages behavior, supervises students and supports her teacher in order to provide the best environment possible for her students. The students in the classroom love Ms. Tina.”

Edwards also credited Littlefield with singlehandedly maintaining the consistency of her classroom during two teacher transitions in the past 12 months, which was imperative to the development growth her students.

“I have the pleasure of working with some of the most dedicated loving teachers and staff of anywhere in the county,” Littlefield said. “Having this kind of love and support creates a feeling of unity in our school that I absolutely love.”

Oak Mountain Intermediate School’s Cathy Henry was named the 2015-2016 Accounting Professional of the Year.

“Mrs. Henry’s work ethic is impeccable and her standards are high,” OMIS Principal Dr. Pat LeQuier said. “Her positive demeanor, professionalism in handling our finances and collaborative relationships with her peers confirm her to be the kind of quality employee that our school and Shelby County Schools, are proud to claim as their own.”

The 2015-2016 Custodial Professional of the Year award went to Jay Hooten. He has worked 21 years at Oak Mountain, including 17 years as an Oak Mountain Middle School bus driver and the last four years as the custodian.

“Mr. Hooten makes it clear that his most important role is the safety and well-being of the students, faculty and staff at the school,” OMMS Principal Larry Haynes said.

Shelby Elementary’s Marquetta Platt was the winner of the Food Services category.

“She feels like it is her mission at Shelby Elementary to make sure all of the students are fed and ready to learn,” Shelby Elementary Principal Stacy Aderholt said. “She takes each day as an opportunity to smile and greet each student as they go through her line. She invests in each student that walks into our cafeteria. She is aware of students that may be especially hungry and she will come to me and make sure they have food at home.”

Robert Smelcer, from Oak Mountain Elementary School, was named the 2015-2016 Maintenance Professional of the Year.

According to OMES Principal Debbie Horton, Smelcer ensures that the students at Oak Mountain Elementary have access to a clean and safe environment and is always willing to assist the teachers with any task no matter how big or small.

“The children, parents and staff absolutely adore him,” Horton said. “He takes great pride in his work and continues each year to look for ways to better serve the teachers, students, staff and community of Oak Mountain.”

The 2015-2016 Secretarial Professional of the Year award went to Claudia Banuelos. Her desire to assist and serve others is evident in how she plans her work, which includes networking and collaborating with departments and schools in the school district and community agencies and organizations said ESL Supervisor Leah Dobbs Black. She is a life-long learner who seeks opportunities to grow professionally and personally, including currently being enrolled in graduate school at UAB pursuing her Master’s degree in ESL.

“Even when language does not represent a barrier, just navigating the school system can prove to be a trying process for parents and students,” Banuelos said. “Because the partnership between parents and schools is paramount to the students’ success, I feel this aspect of my job reaches out to many of our parents and provides them with the opportunity to be active partners.”

Susan Price was the winner of the Transportation category. Price has she served as a system bus driver for nine years, serving the communities of Columbiana, Wilsonville and Shelby.

Columbiana Middle School Principal Kerry Rush said Price leads her students by example, treating them the way she would want her own children to be treated while also making her expectations known.

“While recognizing the somewhat less-structured atmosphere of a bus can lend itself to students making unwise choices, Mrs. Price is quick to redirect and provide opportunities for her students to correct those choices,” Rush said.

In addition to her duties as a bus driver, Mrs. Price also serves as a certified substitute teacher, where she has filled long-term positions at CMS.

School and department winners were:
• Judy Mooney – special education para-educator – Calera Elementary
• Jennifer Miller – instructional aide – Calera Intermediate
• Jim Clark – custodian – Calera Middle
• Sabrina Harris – paraprofessional – Calera High
• Tony Kelley – custodian – Chelsea High
• Alfred Hunt – custodian – Chelsea Park Elementary
• Laura Chambless – bookkeeper – Chelsea Middle
• Tonya Vick – secretary – College and Career Center
• Melissa Nolen – nurse – Elvin Hill Elementary
• Candy Falkner – secretary – Forest Oaks Elementary
• Ray Lewis – custodian – Helena Elementary
• Brenda Garner – CNP manager – Helena Intermediate
• Stephanie Brown – instructional aide – Helena Middle
• Kelley Emerson – registrar – Helena High
• Julia Thomason – instructional aide – Inverness Elementary
• Maura Gallo – instructional aide – Linda Nolen Learning Center
• April Mixon – secretary – Montevallo Elementary
• Cheryl Snyder – secretary – Montevallo Middle
• Bob Stricklin – custodian – Montevallo High
• Lynn Falkner – custodian – Mt Laurel Elementary
• Kay Hurley – secretary – Oak Mountain High
• Barbara Edwards – custodian – Shelby County High School
• Holly Hoyle – computer lab aide – Vincent Elementary School
• Misty Lewter – bookkeeper – Wilsonville Elementary
• Kristy Densmore – secretary – Central Office
• Jeff Elliott – maintenance technician/plumber – Maintenance Department
• Joel Stagner – master mechanic – Transportation Department