Shelby County Schools names Support Persons of the Year

By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The Shelby County Board of Education presented the 2019-2020 Educational Support Personnel awards on Thursday, May 6, and honored members of the district’s support team.

The ceremony, which was held during the board’s monthly meeting at Helena High School, was initially scheduled for last year, but was postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards were presented by Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks.

“Today, we are proud to honor our Educational Support Personnel of the Year from the 2019-2020 school year,” Brooks said. “As you know, last school year was rather abruptly interrupted by COVID-19. As a result, we were not able to honor our outstanding support personnel in the same way that we had traditionally done in the past. So, we are making up for that by making sure these individuals get the recognition they deserve.”

Six faculty members were nominated from throughout Shelby County Schools.

Holly Dover, a custodian at Vincent Middle High School, was honored as the Overall Winner for Educational Support Personnel of the Year.

Dover said she was honored and approaches her job based on the motto: “Treat every student the way I would want my children to be treated, Lift them up and encourage them, correct them when they are wrong, but most of all, just be kind.”

The award’s judges certainly felt Dover has lived out that motto as they were impressed by her dedication and relationship-building with students.

Not only does she take the effort to learn every student’s name, but Dover has even helped students with class assignments and comforted them when they are upset. During summers, she has rented library books for students and helped them with their summer reading projects.

“One of the things that really stood out to the judges about Holly was her intentionality and her effort to build relationships with students. She encourages them when they are struggling with sadness or anxiety, and is also a shoulder for them to grief when they are experiencing various losses in their lives,” said Cindy Warner, the public relations and community education supervisor for Shelby County Schools.

Dover described her job as being part of one large family.

“I enjoy working with the staff and kids. It’s very rewarding, and everyone is just one big family,” she said.

The district also honored five other category winners, which included the following:

  • Jan McClaney – Accounting Assistant, Central Office –  Accounting Category
  • Tear Lee – Child Nutrition Program, Calera Elementary School  – Food Services Category
  • Brandy Whitfield – Instructional Aide, Mt Laurel Elementary – Instructional Category
  • Roger Williams – Maintenance Technician, Helena Middle School – Maintenance Category
  • John Rogers – Bus Driver, Helena Intermediate – Transportation Category
  • Kelley Emerson – Registrar, Helena High School – Secretarial Category