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City schools name teachers, employees of year | #television | #elderly | #movies

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This graphic, supplied by Mount Airy City Schools, pictures the Teacher of the Year award winners.

Officials in Mount Airy City Schools have announced their 2021-2022 Teachers of the Year and Employees of the Year while the district has named its Beginning Teacher of the Year, Bus Driver of the Year, School Nutrition Manager of the Year, School Nutrition Employee of the Year, and Central Office Employee of the Year. Over the past month, the district also named Jason Dorsett as Principal of the Year.

This year has been especially challenging for school personnel, with COVID-19 affecting nearly every aspect of school life, and many of those recommending the employees who were recognized touched on this.

District and school leaders recently came together to form the prize patrol that announced the honors and congratulated each employee. The day was filled with overwhelming emotions as being recognized by one’s peers is the ultimate sign of appreciation. One employee noted, “I wish each person could get recognized and rewarded. It has been quite a year and everyone has worked so hard on the front lines and behind the scenes.”

B.H. Tharrington Primary School named kindergarten teacher Beth Martin as Teacher of the Year and school nurse Kristi Horton as Employee of the Year.

Martin’s nomination included a recommendation which said “Beth has worked tirelessly to ensure that her remote learners and face-to-face students receive an excellent education. Her students receive the same amount of dedication but not the same lessons as Beth strives for equity in her teaching.”

Horton’s peers noted, “Kristi has put in countless hours throughout this pandemic with contact tracing, timing quarantines, and ensuring guidelines are met. She has accomplished so many tasks that are in addition to her regular duties as a school nurse. Even after all the hours, she is still smiling and looking to encourage the rest of us.”

J.J. Jones Intermediate School named Gina Tompkins as Teacher of the Year and Kristi Horton as Employee of the Year. Tompkins is the school’s interventionist and Horton serves as the school’s nurse.

Fellow teachers mentioned that Tompkins “goes above and beyond to consistently meet the needs of students in her reading and math groups. She is a phenomenal educator who surpasses expectations and strives to help others.”

Horton’s colleagues at Jones stated, “Kristi is our hero during this pandemic school year. She has taken care of all of us what seems 24/7. She’s worked nights and weekends to make sure she stayed ahead of the game while also keeping us up-to-date with the latest information.”

Mount Airy Middle School named Marie Hauser, math teacher, as Teacher of the Year and Ashley Graham, finance officer, as Employee of the Year.

Hauser’s nomination included, “Her positive energy, passion, and ability to build relationships with each student allows her to maintain a high level of instruction with students. Marie has high expectations for her students and does not give up on them but pushes them daily.”

Staff members throughout the school submitted high remarks about Graham. “She is able to adapt on the fly and has done a remarkable job finding additional staff to help make this year successful.” Another noted, “When substitutes were short due to this year’s co-teaching model, she stepped in herself to cover teaching. She has also rocked temperature checks in the morning and afternoon dismissal logistics.”

In an unprecedented year, it’s fitting that Mount Airy High School had an unusual tie in their Teacher of the Year award; Gena Ray and Rebecca Fritchey had equal votes for the honor while Kevin Joyce, assistant principal, was voted Employee of the Year by the staff.

Ray’s colleagues noted, “Gena Ray is an amazing teacher. She pushes students to achieve more than they think they are capable of. She provides a place for students who may feel they don’t fit anywhere, but she doesn’t allow them to hide there. She helps them find their voice.”

Fritchey’s peers added, “She is thoughtful and reflective in her lesson design and always puts students first. She regularly ties in social-emotional support and is constantly communicating and provided feedback to students and parents.”

Joyce’s staff praised him, “Kevin works hard for everyone, students and staff. He is truly a family-oriented administrator and deserves recognition for his efforts.”

Tommye Phillips, manager for Mount Airy High School, was named Manager of the Year while Anita Ramirez, cafeteria employee at Tharrington, was named Employee of the Year for the School Nutrition Department.

Celena Watson, School Nutrition Director, noted, “Anita is very deserving of this recognition, she is a very hard worker, never complains, and always takes pride in her work. She has a positive attitude and an obvious love for all the children at BHT.”

Watson added, “Tommye is a very reliable and dependable manager. When the operations of feeding students during this pandemic drastically changed, she stepped up to lead her team to prepare, box, and transport food to all the classrooms throughout the high school campus. Her service to Mount Airy High School and Mount Airy City Schools’ School Nutrition program has been invaluable. She is a very thoughtful and caring school nutrition manager.”

Ray Pilson was named the district’s Bus Driver of the Year. Transportation Director Jon Doss stated, “Ray is always at work, on time, humble, and good with the kids. He is polite to everyone and eager to learn.”

Candace Fenton-Haynes, Jones Intermediate educator, was named the city schools’ Beginning Teacher of the Year. Director of Innovative Programming Penny Willard noted, “As a first-year educator, Candice Haynes sets the tone for striving to serve all learners through equitable and culturally responsive learning experiences. She sets high expectations for all learners and advocates for her Jones students. Mrs. Haynes is also an asset to our district’s beginning teachers group. As a reflective practitioner, she is always willing to collaborate and share in order to improve her own practice and better serve others.”

The district also named its Employee of the Year, Audra Chilton, who serves as the district’s finance director. Superintendent Kim Morrison said, “We are pleased to recognize Audra Chilton as our CCO Employee of the Year. She has done a tremendous job this year navigating a pandemic with multiple forms of financing required. We believe that she works hard to make sure every child and staff member are cared for and the district prioritizes funds to support the classroom.”

The district’s Principal of the Year, Jason Dorsett, was named recently. Superintendent Dr. Kim Morrison noted, “Mr. Dorsett navigated many challenges during this pandemic making sure staff members were safe and helping students safely return to the activities they love. He always puts students first and we are proud to award him with this honor.”

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