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surprised all award winners at work and presented each one with
Tim Cole “has single-handedly moved VBCPS in the forefront regarding sustainability.” He has served as project manager for several “green” buildings, and has also spearheaded sustainability efforts in schools through school liaisons and the use of “Green Seal Certified” cleaning products. He serves as the editor of the quarterly, Green News Letter, and also developed a “Bike Share” program at the Municipal Center.”
Karen Dragon “is a passionate individual who never settles for less, not from her students, not from herself….Karen takes charge and makes a significant difference wherever she lands….I don’t think there is a student that Karen has touched that hasn’t been inspired to be a better reader….Kids physically cheer when she walks in the room. She not only inspires children to read, but encourages them to be good citizens, good role models, and good workers.”
Chris Jacobs has taken to heart the request by the school division to find ways to save money and energy usage. School Plant was “replacing the auditorium lights at Green Run High and he found a LED light that would save money AND energy. Chris did all the research and work…to get pricing and specifications for the fixtures….The findings were quite remarkable….with savings estimated at between $10,000 and $12,000 per year.” He is now working on a prototype LED “house” light for the auditorium which would replace the inefficient incandescent fixtures.
Ed McClendon “is a dedicated and knowledgeable professional whose ability to embrace new ideas and apply them…is exemplary.” In addition to his “day” job of guidance counselor, he also serves as coach for girls’ basketball and track teams. He is a facilitator of the school’s Young Men of Vision club and an intramural running club. As a teacher leader, community member, and child advocate, Ed McClendon positively impacts the lives of the students and faculty at Lynnhaven Middle every day.
James Rodgers has transformed the building (Holland Elementary). The floors are gleaming and the tiles are shining. He has been able to motivate his day team and the night team to ‘buy in’ to the standard of excellence he has modeled.” He is “well respected among his peers as his team was recently awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for their hard work over the summer.” Mr. Rodgers is “an integral part of the Holland community. He is a mentor to a first grader with whom he has breakfast every morning. He is very visible in the hallways and always has an encouraging word for the little ones that look up to him – figuratively and literally – because Mr. Rodgers stands six feet nine inches tall! It is an honor to have him on the Husky team and…my privilege to work with him.”
Betsy Scales is an outstanding office associate…She is responsive to a growing program – Homeless Education Program/Project HOPE – by working with 36 school social workers. She answers phone calls from schools and parents, types numerous reports, supervises a COE student, acts as wellness coordinator, and has taken on additional duties with the Homeless Education Program, assisting parents and troubleshooting complications. Betsy makes contributions to our office as a whole because of her 'can do' attitude and her willingness to teach anyone in our office to do certain computer tasks – or anything!”
Donna Shannon performs her many duties as a data support specialist “flawlessly.” Her “enthusiasm and initiative are inspiring because she always thinks about what is best for children. On any given day she might be found filling in for the nurse during lunch, posting testing results on the data board, helping out in the cafeteria, or completing informational PowerPoints for parents. She has gone “above and beyond” by helping reorganize the science lab, “spruce up” the lobby, and created an enrichment program on rockets that thoroughly engaged and excited students. Her final accolade? She can make a kazoo out of bubblegum!
Terry Skidmore “is an outstanding administrative office associate who excels at any task that comes her way. Her initiative, creativity, and ability to reduce enormous tasks to a manageable size are major assets. The principals, school office associates, teachers, and central office staff rely on her expertise and knowledge….She sees the 'big picture' and has an astounding knowledge of the many departments and schools that make up VBCPS. Her ability to answer questions and her willingness to seek the information needed is respected and appreciated throughout the division.” Terry is “frequently sought after by other department personnel to explain processes and impart information regarding school and central office practices…her excellent technology skills have carried our office into the 21st century…she continues to create new processes and procedures to enable our very busy office to function more efficiently.”
Susan Vierra definitely “exceeds expectations”: A little more than 14 years ago she started her clinic. Of course, it had only one cot and was located in a portable that also served as an office, a student-teacher workroom, and a lunchroom. Things have changed since then. Over the years, she has added cots, equipment, a library, and a full-service resource parenting program. She also has connected with numerous resource agencies and individuals. Among them are the Social Services Day Care Division, Up Center, health care providers, guidance counselors, social workers, teachers, military institutions, Virginia Beach police department for free car seats, Wic program, and the FAMIS health insurance programs to name a few. In addition she has received grants for more than $7,200 to improve classroom instruction and provide opportunities for students at PA Center. Susan always “seizes the moment and makes a difference.”
Tracey Wernikowski is a special education teacher…and is concerned with the total well-being of the child. When she noticed that “more and more autistic children were being identified and added to her caseload…she enrolled in classes at Regent University and earned her certificate, Working with Autistic Children. The staff at Three Oaks has confidence in her teaching abilities and come to her for guidance when they have a question or concern.” At the same time, Tracey serves as the school’s partner in education coordinator, recruiting all 20 of the school’s partners. She also is the student council advisor and helped the SCA raise more than $2,100 this year for the United Way. She sits on the PTA board, is an active participant in Relay for Life, a team member of the Susan G. Koman race for the cure, and a wolf pup mentor at the school…“She goes FAR beyond the call of duty.”