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School system honors employees of the year

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SMITHFIELD — Educators who serve outside of a classroom setting were recognized for the important roles they play in Johnston County Public Schools at a special Employee of the Year reception on March 21.

Honorees representing itinerant teachers and related services providers, media specialists, school counselors and student advocates, school nutrition assistants, school nutrition managers and school support personnel were recognized after being nominated by their colleagues and administrators in their schools and being named a finalist in their respective category.

Nominees were accompanied at the reception by principals, spouses, and friends. Members of the Board of Education and Johnston County Public Schools senior staff were also present to show their appreciation and support.

Sharon Payne, occupational therapist, was selected as the Itinerant Teacher/Related Services Employee of the Year. Stephanie Haumont, media specialist at Cleveland High, was selected as the Employee of the Year for her field. Abby Stephenson, school counselor at Pine Level Elementary, was selected as the Employee of the Year for her field.

Katherine Myers, school nutrition assistant at Smithfield-Selma High, was selected as the Employee of the Year for her field. Linda Houser, school nutrition manager, was selected as the Employee of the Year for her field. Vicky Montgomery, program specialist, was selected as the School Support Personnel Employee of the Year.

Speech language therapist Carolyn Browski, speech language therapist Karen Davis, preschool itinerant teacher Catherine Fouts and occupational therapist Dawn Starling were all finalists for the itinerant teacher/related services category.

Michele R. Byrd from Selma Middle, Angela Causby from Archer Lodge Middle, Valerie Kinney from Swift Creek Middle, Rhonda Langston from Meadow School, Karen Parker from Pine Level Elementary, Stephanie Rous from Corinth Holders High, Donna Tart from Princeton Middle/High, Natalee Wamble from Cleveland Middle and Stephanie Worley from Smithfield Middle were all finalists for the media specialist category.

Lauren Brown from Riverwood Elementary, Kirsten Dickson from Clayton High, Erica Haasl from West Clayton Elementary, Susan Hager from Benson Elementary, Kate McGarth from Smithfield-Selma High, Melissa Lee from Benson Middle, Garfield Martin from Cooper Academy, Carmen White from McGee’s Crossroads Elementary and Melinda Whitley from Clayton High School were all finalists for the school counselor/student advocate category.

Sheila Fitzgerald from Micro Elementary, Karen Holt from Benson Middle, Antenna McNeill from Four Oaks Elementary and Claudia Rios from West Clayton Elementary were all finalists for the school nutrition assistant category.

Tammy Baker from McGee’s Crossroads Elementary, Kelly King from Princeton Middle/High, Penny Martin from Meadow School and Cynthia Sessions from Cooper Academy were finalists for the school nutrition manager category.

Teaching and learning coach Chris Aycock, behavior specialist Curtis Bradshaw, teaching and learning coach Alison Brown, teaching and learning coach Lauren Hayes, school social worker Julie Hodge, school social worker Ashlie Pope, teaching and learning coach Amber Searfoss, teaching and learning coach Suzanne Sweat and teaching and learning coach Casey Tetterton were finalists for the School Support category.

The winners were selected by a panel of volunteer judges that consisted of retired educators Dianna Freeman, Endra Pugh and Jean Tripp. The judges went through hundreds of nominations to select the finalists and winners in each category.

Each finalist received an award and then six, one from each category, were selected to represent the group as employees of the year.

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