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In The News

Congratulations to the 2018-19 NNPS Support Staff of the Year

(06/06/2018) - These professional members of the Newport News Public Schools team dedicate themselves to advancing the mission by ensuring that students graduate college, career and citizen-ready. They are representative of more than 5,000 devoted employees who serve and support our students.

Jessica Woods Jenny Black Valerie Wolfe

Jessica Woods
Denbigh Early Childhood Center

Jessica Woods is the support staff of the year representing Denbigh Early Childhood Center. Ms. Woods is the school nurse. Ms. Woods is noted for her calm and professional manner as she tends to the needs of her students and staff. Thanks to her resolve to "step up," she has improved the enrollment process.

Jenny Black
Gatewood PEEP

Jenny Black is the support staff honoree at Gatewood PEEP. Ms. Black is a special education instructional assistant with 25 years of service. She works collaboratively with the teacher to ensure that the class runs smoothly. Ms. Black engages students so that they meet their educational and social goals. Her administrator says that she exceeds expectations by being proactive and taking initiative.

Valerie Wolfe
Lee Hall Early Childhood Center

Representing Lee Hall Early Childhood Center, Family and Community Engagement Specialist is Valerie Wolfe. Ms. Wolfe's warm smile and infectious personality welcomes parents and students. She has created several community partnerships to benefit Lee Hall. Ms. Wolfe was instrumental in starting a community garden and outdoor classroom by coordinating materials and volunteers. She even recruited a local company to install a playground sidewalk. She has proven to be invaluable to the students and staff.

Charmin Wells Kasey Gatling Mequisha Collier

Charmin Wells
Marshall Early Learning Center

Charmin Wells is the support staff honoree of the year at Marshall Early Learning Center. Ms. Wells is the lead custodian. She is committed to the highest standard of customer relations; she often communicates with the administrative staff to ensure that all duties are completed with high expectations. Ms. Wells actively supports teaching and learning. Ms. Wells also mentors her students and the Marshall custodial staff. Last year, she was instrumental in leading the custodial team to earn a Clean School Award. She takes pride in all that she does.

Kasey Gatling
Watkins Early Childhood Center

Representing Watkins Early Childhood Center is Kasey Gatling, instructional assistant. Ms. Gatling has served the school division for 19 years. She is an exceptional advocate for students. In addition to her classroom duties, she serves as a parent leader for the "I'm Determined" project, which works to increase student self-determination skills. Ms. Gatling is also a member of the planning team for the organization. She has coordinated staff wellness projects to ensure their health and wellbeing.

Mequisha Collier
An Achievable Dream Academy

Instructional Assistant Mequisha Collier is the support staff of the year at Achievable Dream Academy. Ms. Collier assists teachers and administrators in supporting scholars as they strive for achievement and advancement through goal-setting. She is masterful in nurturing and nudging – loving and supporting scholars. She serves as the safety patrol club sponsor, the school's crossing guard and the PTA president. Ms. Collier firmly believes in the growth and development of our students.

Jennifer Davis Marcella Woolley Stacy Gutierrez

Jennifer Davis
Carver Elementary School

Administrative Assistant Jennifer Davis is Carver Elementary School's support staff of the year. Ms. Davis is an outstanding office professional. Each day, she orchestrates the administrative functions at Carver and maintains a professional, positive atmosphere as the first contact with the community. Ms. Davis restructured the main office, making it more efficient to meet the needs of students, parents and staff. She supports all aspects of Carver with a spirit of excellence and humility.

Marcella Woolley
B.C. Charles Elementary School

Representing B.C. Charles Elementary School is Marcella Woolley. Ms. Woolley is a special education instructional assistant who goes above and beyond to make sure students' educational needs are met. She forms long lasting relationships with students. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Woolley serves as the bus coordinator, helping to ensure students travel to and from school safely. She has implemented a book program so that students have books to read while on the bus. She is always willing to help wherever needed.

Stacy Gutierrez
Deer Park Elementary School

Stacy Gutierrez is the support staff honoree of the year at Deer Park Elementary School. Ms. Gutierrez serves as the school nurse; she is the Florence Nightingale of Deer Park. She takes time to comfort, support, and treat students. She is detailed in her notes and listens with a compassionate ear. Ms. Gutierrez is also one of the school's wellness coaches. She provides a wealth of information on health, wellness and safety. She was instrumental in securing a grant for a water filtration center, which provides drinking water for the school.

Alda Eley Marleen Press Paul Jackson

Alda Eley
Discovery STEM Academy

School Nurse Alda Eley is the support staff person of the year at Discovery STEM Academy. Ms. Eley or Nursie Poo, as she is known to her school, finds a multitude of assistance for students, families and staff. She connects with students more than just when they are ill; she is often seen in Learning Lane joining kindergarteners with the days of the week song, and dancing with them to make sure they are getting plenty of exercise.

Marleen Press
Dutrow Elementary School

Special education instructional assistant Marleen Press is the support staff person of the year at Dutrow Elementary School. Ms. Press goes above and beyond for her students. In addition to providing instructional support, Ms. Press assists teachers during intervention and enrichment time. Using her background in literacy, she works with beginning readers in small groups. She also volunteers to work with students in an after-school program to prepare them for SOL tests. Ms. Press always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She dedicates her time to helping students achieve success.

Paul Jackson
Epes Elementary School

Paul Jackson is the lead custodian at Epes Elementary School. The staff at Epes says that Mr. Jackson is never too busy to help. He jumps at the opportunity to assist students and staff. He interacts well with students and is a professional in all aspects of his job.

John Moore Bobbi Emerick Toriano Etheridge

John Moore
General Stanford Elementary School

Lead Custodian John Moore is representing General Stanford Elementary School as the support staff of the year. Mr. Moore not only puts extra time into his job, but extra heart into it as well. He arrives one hour prior to his scheduled start time to ensure everything is in order for staff and students; he also often stays late. Mr. Moore supports all school programs and often helps with division-wide events. His goal is to maintain a safe and clean school that everyone is proud of. His administrator says our school glistens and sparkles because of him.

Bobbi Emerick
Greenwood Elementary School

Representing Greenwood Elementary School as support staff of the year is Administrative Secretary Bobbi Emerick. Ms. Emerick is the first face people see when they enter the building, and she greets everyone with professionalism. She is known for her great ability to remember even the smallest details and apply them to the task at hand successfully. Ms. Emerick also keeps the office organized; she handles schedules, mail, and the phones in perfect order. She is easily accessible and always accurate.

Toriano Etheridge
Hidenwood Elementary School

Representing Hidenwood Elementary School is Toriano Etheridge, night custodian. Mr. Etheridge is a hard worker and is always willing to help his colleagues. The staff says that he is helpful to them and goes above and beyond. His smile and his work ethic greet everyone he comes in contact with. Mr. Etheridge will stay late to support teachers and offers to open the building when needed. He takes great pride in his work, and the teachers and students appreciate him.

Calvin Hendricks Ruth Johnson Keemara Basmajian

Calvin Hendricks
Hilton Elementary School

Hilton Elementary School's support staff of the year is Custodian Calvin Hendricks. Mr. Hendricks takes a genuine interest in building positive relationships with Hilton students. He knows them by name and makes time to talk with them, offering help when needed. Mr. Hendricks has a strong work ethic and takes the initiative to go above and beyond for everyone in the building. He comes to work with a great attitude each day and exhibits great customer service to families and the community. Mr. Hendricks takes pride in being a "difference maker" for others.

Ruth Johnson
Jenkins Elementary School

Ruth Johnson is the support staff person of the year at Jenkins Elementary School. Ms. Johnson is an instructional assistant. Her administrator says that she is a great asset to Jenkins. She welcomes students and families daily with a contagious smile. With her optimistic demeanor, she has worked with the after-school program and WE-LEAP. Ms. Johnson goes over and beyond to ensure that her students are greeted in the morning as they exit the bus, and are dismissed safely in the afternoon.

Keemara Basmajian
Kiln Creek Elementary School

Representing Kiln Creek Elementary School as support staff of the year is Keemara Basmajian. Ms. Basmajian is an instructional assistant. She gets to know all of the students she works with personally and academically in order to best meet their needs and performance. Ms. Basmajian spends her lunch time with students to help them catch up with work. Her administrator says she is driven to do a good job and help her colleagues. She is always eager to learn more to help students.

Anne Evans LaWanda Moss Taylor Faulk

Anne Evans
Lee Hall Elementary School

Anne Evans, instructional assistant, is Lee Hall Elementary School's honoree. Ms. Evans goes above and beyond. Not only does she fulfill her duties as an instructional assistant, but she takes time to build a rapport and relationships with students. She serves as a mentor for several students. Ms. Evans always seeks opportunities to further her academic knowledge by participating in professional development sessions. To support Lee Hall families, she sought and secured resources to feed families during winter break. Ms. Evans is someone you can count on.

LaWanda Moss
McIntosh Elementary School

LaWanda Moss is the support staff of the year at McIntosh Elementary School. Ms. Moss is an instructional assistant who possesses the ability to bring balance in the classroom with a sense of calm. She builds positive relationships and is always willing to provide instructional support to assist students. Her goal is to ensure that each student advances and becomes a life-long learner. Her administrator says that she is admired for her caring commitment to students.

Taylor Faulk
Nelson Elementary School

Nelson Elementary School's support staff of the year is Taylor Faulk. Ms. Faulk is a former instructional assistant who recently made the transition to records secretary. She does a wonderful job of welcoming parents, multi-tasking, keeping records, and coordinating attendance. She is flexible and maintains a "can do" attitude. Since becoming the records secretary, Nelson has had the lowest attendance error rate. By developing a strong rapport with parents and students, Ms. Faulk makes a difference in the lives of the Nelson family.

Phyllis Paige Denise Pickett Lolita Purter

Phyllis Paige
Newsome Park Elementary School

Newsome Park Elementary School's support staff of the year is Phyllis Paige, instructional assistant. During her 13-year tenure, Ms. Paige has touched the lives of many young students. She has developed the skills needed to meet every student where they are. She tutors students in the 21st century after-school program, works with SPARK, and serves as a communications forum representative. Ms. Paige says "seeing my student's face light up, shaping lives, dreams and their futures lets me know that my job is important."

Denise Pickett
Palmer Elementary School

Representing Palmer Elementary School is Instructional Assistant Denise Pickett. As a former literacy assistant, Ms. Pickett shares her wealth of knowledge and expertise in reading. She understands the progression of a reader and works with staff to model and support the reading program. Students are always engaged in meaningful and fun activities in her small group centers. Ms. Pickett is a kind and caring educator who truly loves her job and the students she serves.

Lolita Purter
Richneck Elementary School

Lolita Purter is the support staff honoree at Richneck Elementary School. Ms. Purter has been a kindergarten instructional assistant at Richneck for 15 years. She has proven herself to be an exceptional educator. Ms. Purter supports her teachers by working with students in small groups and one-on-one. She understands what a student needs both academically and socially and strives to make sure her students are successful. Ms. Purter is a great asset to Richneck.

Leigh Ann Atkins Sandra Toler Christine Felts

Leigh Ann Atkins
Riverside Elementary School

Riverside Elementary School's support staff honoree is Leigh Ann Atkins. Ms. Atkins is a dedicated instructional assistant. She works with kindergarten students but that is only where her work begins. She supports all grades with check-in and check-out. Developing relationships with students and truly caring about their academic and social growth is evident in every interaction she has with students. She volunteers after-school and on weekends to support school events including Odyssey of the Mind.

Sandra Toler
Sanford Elementary School

Sanford Elementary School's honoree is Media Assistant Sandra Toler. Ms. Toler is an excellent example of supporting quality instruction through her work to support teachers and students in the library. She is highly organized. She can find any book in a moment's notice. Ms. Toler knows just where to find a math manipulative that will assist teachers in demonstrating a concept. Just as important, her administrator says, she is a great person. She is easy going and approachable. Sanford is a better place because of her.

Christine Felts
Saunders Elementary School

Christine Felts is Saunders Elementary School's support staff of the year. Ms. Felts is a secretary and registrar. While her roots are deep at Saunders – her children attended the school – she is now making a difference in the office. Her warm smile greets parents when they come to apply for the Dual Language Immersion Program. Families across the United States call to inquire about the program, and Ms. Felts has become an expert at explaining the program. She has a direct impact on keeping enrollment numbers up for the thriving program.

Wilma Thomas Kacie Francis Deborah Carter

Wilma Thomas
Sedgefield Elementary School

Wilma Thomas is the records secretary at Sedgefield Elementary School. Ms. Thomas exemplifies amazing efforts every day. She is a hard worker with a great attitude, and she is always willing to help. Ms. Thomas shares her knowledge with others and she provides exemplary customer service. Her administrator says parents love Ms. Thomas for her ability to remember them and their children. She has taken on the added responsibility of serving as the 21st century program secretary with pride.

Kacie Francis
Yates Elementary School

Representing Yates Elementary School is Kacie Francis. Ms. Francis is the administrative secretary. She does a wonderful job of communicating with teachers, students and families. Before anyone comes through the front door, they are greeted with kindness and professionalism. Upon entering the office, Ms. Francis continues to show care and concern. She is able to maintain her composure and calm demeanor for every occasion. She provides support and counsel to all in need. The school's routines run smoothly because of Ms. Francis.

Deborah Carter
An Achievable Dream Middle and High School

Deborah Carter represents An Achievable Dream Middle and High School as its support staff honoree. Ms. Carter is the attendance secretary and registrar and is sometimes referred to as Sergeant Carter because she is a go-to person for information, support and guidance. When asked to help, she goes beyond the call of duty, and if she sees a need, she steps in and makes things happen. Ms. Carter is a great multi-tasker who helps with many school events.

Carolyn Stevens Daniel Roldan Ann Warfield

Carolyn Stevens
Crittenden Middle School

Lead Security Officer Carolyn Stevens is Crittenden Middle School's honoree. Ms. Stevens works to develop meaningful relationships with students, staff and families. She volunteers her time after school to assist with activities. She was instrumental in creating the Cougar Clothes Closet, where students and families can shop free of charge for gently used school uniforms. She washes, irons and prepares the clothing to provide for a great shopping experience. She also stocks the Cougar Cash store with school supplies.

Daniel Roldan
Dozier Middle School

Representing Dozier Middle School is Security Officer Daniel Roldan. Officer Roldan makes it his business to know Dozier students, their families and interests. When new students enroll at Dozier, they quickly get to know him. Older students are excited to introduce their siblings to him when they come to Dozier. This speaks volumes about the relationships he builds and sustains. His colleagues often speak about how his energy and enthusiasm encourage them. Office Roldan has impeccable precision when handling building operations. He is a true asset to Dozier.

Ann Warfield
Gildersleeve Middle School

Night lead custodian Ann Warfield is Gildersleeve Middle School's support honoree. In addition to her daily work, Ms. Warfield participates in the Great Friends program. She chaperones many school trips and events. Over her nearly 30 years of service, she has mentored hundreds of students. Ms. Warfield provides guidance, words of comfort, encouragement, and even yummy treats to students and staff. She is known for her infectious smile, laughter and her delicious home-style cooking. Ms. Warfield embodies the spirit of Gildersleeve.

Sandy Pressey Carolyn Montier James Gatling

Sandy Pressey
Hines Middle School

Sandy Pressey is the support staff honoree at Hines Middle School. As an instructional assistant, Ms. Pressey always goes above and beyond her scope of duties. She makes herself available to others and she willingly fills in for classroom teachers. Ms. Pressey ensures that interactive notebooks are organized and current. She works with students for small group instruction to support their academic success. Her administrator says that she is "all about the kids." She encourages students to do their best.

Carolyn Montier
Huntington Middle School

Carolyn Montier is Huntington Middle School's support staff honoree. Ms. Montier serves as a mentor, a right-hand to the classroom teacher, and a true expert in providing support during instruction. Outside of the classroom, she can be seen taking pictures at Huntington events and documenting the school's successes through her amazing bulletin board displays, murals and collages. Ms. Montier promotes school spirit by encouraging students to participate in homeroom competitions. She initiated a homeroom attendance competition to promote regular student attendance.

James Gatling
Passage Middle School

The support staff of the year at Passage Middle School is James Gatling. Mr. Gatling is the lead custodian. Mr. Gatling does more than keep Passage looking good, he leads the custodial staff in maintaining a safe, welcoming learning environment. He goes above and beyond every day for the students and staff. Mr. Gatling assists the flag crew, and can be seen helping students locate lost items and open their lockers. He helps everyone with a smile and serves as a role model for students.

Arnice Atkinson Michael Hillier Weymouth Williams

Arnice Atkinson
Booker T. Washington Middle School

Booker T. Washington Middle School's honoree is administrative secretary and bookkeeper Arnice Atkinson. Ms. Atkinson always completes her work in an efficient and accurate manner. She goes above and beyond to assist office visitors and she ensures that everyone's experience is the best. Ms. Atkinson is patient and calmly helps resolve situations. Even under pressure, she remains poised and willing to share a joke or treat to put a smile on your face.

Michael Hillier
Denbigh High School

The representative from Denbigh High School, Technology Support Specialist is Michael Hillier. Mr. Hillier ensures that technical issues are not a hindrance to instruction and student learning. He gives his all in making sure that the technology at Denbigh is functioning each day and he stands ready to assist. Mr. Hillier works with the morning show crew and he designed a sign-in and sign-out system for the media center – in one evening. He approaches all that he does with the happiest, most constant cheer and kindness.

Weymouth Williams
Enterprise Academy

Weymouth Williams, instructional behavioral specialist, is the support staff honoree at Enterprise Academy. Mr. Williams has provided a unique and exceptional contribution to Enterprise by providing behavioral interventions and strategies to help students and teachers manage difficult situations through his morning program "Life Altering Experiences in 25 Extreme Minutes." Mr. Williams also conducts child study meetings to ensure that the students' needs are met. He assists with daily security protocols and he established "All Pro Dad" to help build better relationships between students and their fathers or father figures.

Joanne Spruill Terri Keesee Rose Baker

Joanne Spruill
Heritage High School

Lead Security Officer Joanne Spruill is representing Heritage High School as the support honoree. Officer Spruill mentors students and demonstrates culturally responsive leadership by building meaningful relationships. She brightens each day with a song to welcome students to school and ensure that everyone is on time. Officer Spruill also sponsors the Class of 2020, performs alterations for the NJROTC program and donates her balloon sculpture talents to decorate for school functions.

Terri Keesee
Menchville High School

Menchville High School's support honoree of the year is Student Support Specialist Terri Keesee. Ms. Keesee has worked with thousands of students to assist them with various stresses, crises, and hurdles. From suicide and bullying prevention, to peer mediation and coping with depression, she works with the most challenging student situations. She coordinates advisory group programs, project inclusion teams, and youth prevention programs. Ms. Keesee also sponsors the Young Men and Women of Distinction, and coordinates community service opportunities for students.

Rose Baker
Warwick High School

Representing Warwick High School as the support staff honoree is Technical Assistant Rose Baker. Ms. Baker wears many hats at Warwick. She mentors and prepares the students who participate in school announcements. She organizes the list, meets with each student, and checks their credentials. Ms. Baker also mentors several students, monitoring their grades, providing advice, and make recommendations for success. She greets all with a smile and a positive attitude.

Walter Boxton Devin Berry Christine DelGrosso

Walter Boxton
Woodside High School

Security Officer Walter Boxton is the honoree at Woodside High School. Officer Boxton is phenomenal at building relationships. He goes above and beyond in developing positive relationships with students that go the extra mile in diffusing conflicts or offering mentoring scenarios. Students flock to Officer Boxton for camaraderie and advice; now families visit him when them come to school. He also seeks to greet the school staff and share a positive word with them.

Devin Berry
Administration Building

Devin Berry is representing the administration building as the support honoree. Mr. Berry is a technology support specialist. Since joining the administration building team, Mr. Berry has enhanced technology support. He anticipates the needs of School Board members and staff to ensure that they are able to use the technology available to them. He is ready to assist colleagues with their technical challenges or department needs. When he doesn't readily know the answer, he will research the issue to find a solution. Consequently, his clients rarely experience downtime.

Christine DelGrosso
Warehouse and Child Nutrition Services

Christine DelGrosso is the support staff honoree representing child nutrition services and the warehouse. She is an area cafeteria supervisor. This year, the child nutrition department had several vacancies. Ms. DelGrosso jumped in and helped. At schools, she cleaned cafeteria tables and helped in the kitchen. She also trains teachers how to coordinate breakfast in the classroom, giving students a nutritious start of the day. Ms. DelGrosso is also working to expand the supper program at schools. She sets the example of team effort and working for students.

Donna Glover Delvickio Neal Felicia Wooten-Higgs

Donna Glover
Human Resources

Representing Payroll and Human Resources as the support staff honoree is Payroll Analyst Donna Glover. Ms. Glover has always made it a best practice to go above and beyond when it comes to working as a team and providing a high level of customer service to employees. Ms. Glover's communication skills and vast knowledge help to ensure that more than 800 substitutes are paid correctly, on time. No matter the issue, Ms. Glover becomes a problem-solver. She takes the time to do the research to resolve the issue.

Delvickio Neal
Plant Services

Delvickio Neal is representing Plant Services as the support honoree. Mr. Neal is a Carpenter II. Mr. Neal always comes to work with a great attitude. He is part of plant services' asbestos team. He can be counted on to conduct asbestos removal in a safe manner. His priority is always to ensure a safe environment for students. His dedication is notable. He volunteers to work weekends and after-hours to ensure work is completed. Mr. Neal has a strong sense of duty.

Felicia Wooten-Higgs
South Morrison Family Life Center

Felicia Wooten-Higgs is the honoree for the South Morrison Family Life Center. Ms. Wooten-Higgs serves as an administrative secretary. Ms. Wooten-Higgs has organized many drives to collect food, clothing and presents for our students. She is often contacted by various community members regarding a child or family in need because they know she is a source of help. She has coordinated the Medicaid Reimbursement Program, exceeding her job duties. Ms. Wooten-Higgs volunteers to work with hard-to-serve clients; she has a gift for calming visitors and identifying their needs.

Traci Leonard< Sharise Gary  

Traci Leonard
Technology & Information Services

The support staff person of the year representing Technology is Traci Leonard, Database Developer II. In addition to her daily duties of ensuring data accuracy and timely submission of required reports, Ms. Leonard has taken the initiative to design, develop and implement a variety of new Student Information System reports and screens. She has also streamlined processes for several departments. The new processes have eliminated manually intensive applications and errors. Ms. Leonard's work has drastically reduced data entry errors and saved the school division thousands of dollars in programming fees.

Sharise Gary

Scheduling Specialist Sharise Gary is the support staff honoree for transportation. Ms. Gary has improved operations of the dispatch team. She has made assignment changes that best suit each dispatcher's distinct abilities. Ms. Gary has also streamlined the field trip process by training school staff to use the electronic field trip system. This initiative has reduced scheduling errors. Ms. Gary regularly receives praise from customers commending her level of service and follow through.