OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/12/14) — Daviess County Public Schools announced recipients of the second annual Great Expectations Teacher of the Year, Customer Service and Office Professional Awards during the district’s Opening Day ceremony at the Sportscenter.
During the spring, each site selected a school-level Teacher of the Year.
These winners received an engraved crystal bowl, $200 for classroom use and a designated parking place for one year. Honorees were evaluated by representatives of the DCPS Office of Teaching and Learning on the basis of classroom observations and nomination materials, and one overall winner was selected for each of three levels – elementary, middle and high school. These winners were awarded a $1,000 purchase order for classroom use and will be nominated by the district as candidates for Kentucky Teacher of the Year honors.
The 2014 DCPS Great Expectations Elementary Teacher of the Year is Diana Roberts, a fifth-grade teacher at Country Heights Elementary School. Roberts’ nomination recognized her passion for teaching: “Not only does she focus on the common core, but she also shares life lessons with her students. She makes it a point to develop a relationship with her students from the first day of school. She knows that building that relationship lays the foundations to the students’ learning. Ms. Roberts sets high expectations for her students. She believes that ALL students will achieve at high levels. She does not accept anything less than the best from her students and challenges them to go beyond the expected. She is open to trying new ideas, strategies and resources to help her students learn. This means Ms. Roberts herself is always learning! Her students are strong and confident learners because they know their teacher has worked very hard to make learning happen for them.”
The 2014 DCPS Great Expectations Middle School Teacher of the Year is Karen Mallonee, a Spanish language teacher at College View Middle School. According to her nomination, “Senora Mallonee” creates a rich atmosphere in her classroom where students are immersed in Hispanic culture and surrounded by the Spanish language. “Her lessons are perfectly planned to constantly review prior knowledge and challenge new learning experiences. She spends hundreds of hours outside the school day preparing and refining her lessons. She treats all students the same, without favoritism, yet meets any and all special needs. Her students will only realize how fortunate they are to have had her as their teacher in years to come as they continue in their educational pursuits. With all she does, she still finds time to participate in school spirit and school events, supporting students and her colleagues. She is a classy lady, a true role model.”
The 2014 DCPS Great Expectations High School Teacher of the Year is Debbie Muse, an agriculture teacher at Apollo High School. Muse was nominated by a student, who noted: “Debbie Muse genuinely cares about each and every one of her students. Her students look forward to her class every single day. She gives them a reason to do so, as they know they will be challenged and will leave with a smile. As a first-year teacher at Apollo High School, Debbie Muse has made positive connections with her students, some of whom consider her a ‘second mom.’ She understands the challenges faced by many of her students, providing support and encouragement not only in her classroom, but also in making positive life choices. She has earned her students’ respect and appreciation and is truly making a difference through her determination to ensure all students are prepared for college and careers.”
Candidates for Customer Service and Office Professional Awards were submitted to a district-level committee last spring and were evaluated on the basis of nomination materials. Winners will receive a $1,000 purchase order for professional use; designated parking place for one year; and will represent the district as nominees for statewide honors. Glenn Pierce, head custodian at East View Elementary School, was presented the DCPS Great Expectations Customer Service Award in August 2013, and was recently named one of three finalists for the statewide Fred Award for customer service awarded by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
The 2014 DCPS Great Expectations Customer Service Award was presented to Venice Higgs, instructional assistant at Sorgho Elementary School. Her nominator noted that Higgs has earned the respect of her colleagues and parents for her willingness and ability in working with children with emotional behavior difficulties. “She builds strong relationships with students by gaining their trust as a confidant, coach, nurturer, mentor and cheerleader,” the nomination said. “Students and staff members alike seek her out when faced with a crisis, knowing her patience, gentle encouragement and soothing presence will help to calm the storm. She never gives up on her students! She remains mindful of each student’s unique strengths and challenges as she utilizes the most appropriate resources in proactively preventing or resolving problems. Even on the toughest days, she is patiently de-escalating situations through open and honest dialogue, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings. Even when students lash out in anger, she quietly offers an invitation for a fresh start, encouraging the child to make better choices in the future.”
Nelda Hatfield was named DCPS Great Expectations Office Professional and will be nominated by the district for the KASA Wanda Luttrell Office Professional Award. Hatfield serves as finance and operations secretary at the DCPS Central Office. Her nomination recognized the many responsibilities and her positive attitude. “Nelda is the ‘go to’ gal when the copy machine is jammed, the coffee pot overflows, the voice mail recording needs to be updated – whatever the problem or need, we turn to Nelda, and the problem is solved – and she does all this cheerfully, patiently and efficiently. Beyond all the functions and tasks Nelda does to take care of us, it’s not what she does, but how she goes about her job that is so impressive. ‘All means all’ is a basic tenet of our district’s focus on Great Expectations. We usually think of that in reference to how our students are treated and how they are able to perform academically … but in Nelda’s case, ‘all means all’ reflects on the way she interacts with and serves all people with whom she comes in contact.”
These awards represent the continued commitment of the DCPS district and its staff – certified and support – regarding student achievement. Superintendent Owens Saylor said, “I am so proud of these outstanding individuals, who are setting a powerful example for the students they serve through their positive attitudes, hard work and commitment to excellence.”
Our DCPS Great Expectations award winners are available for media interviews:
2014 DCPS Great Expectations Elementary School Teacher of the Year
2014 DCPS Great Expectations Middle School Teacher of the Year
2014 DCPS Great Expectations High School Teacher of the Year
2014 DCPS Great Expectations Customer Service Award
2014 DCPS Great Expectations Office Professional
Information provided by Lora Wimsatt
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