By DONNA HARRIS
Faculties could also be closed as a result of coronavirus outbreak, however that’s not stopping the Bartow County College System from handing out awards to deserving educators who help the district’s distinctive schooling college students.
Three academics — Stormy Ruff, Michele Cole and Amber Benefield – had been acknowledged final Wednesday as BCSS Distinctive Schooling Excellent Staff, and father or mother mentor Kim Chester acquired the second annual Director’s Alternative Award.
“Every of our award recipients had been nominated by their friends and chosen from a committee that reviewed all nominations,” mentioned Tania Amerson, govt director for distinctive schooling for the varsity system. “These candidates exhibit dedication and excellence of their service to our distinctive schooling college students and households.”
The elementary degree’s excellent worker, Ruff is the lead particular schooling trainer at Clear Creek and Pine Log and is a “chief amongst her friends,” Amerson mentioned.
“She all the time demonstrates a ‘can-do’ perspective and is prepared to assist others succeed,” she mentioned. “Stormy is devoted to assembly the wants of her college students and is all the time prepared to go the additional mile. She demonstrates dedication to serving to all college students obtain at excessive ranges and is a valued member of our distinctive schooling crew.”
Ruff, 35, was thrilled to seek out out throughout a digital assembly that she’d acquired the award.
“I used to be honored that my colleagues thought so extremely of me to take the time to appoint me and write such variety issues in regards to the work that I do,” mentioned the Cartersville resident, who has taught at CCES for 12 years and has been the lead trainer at PLES for 3 years.
Cole, the excellent worker for center colleges, is a sixth-grade math trainer at Crimson Prime who “demonstrates dedication to the assumption that each one college students can study at excessive ranges,” Amerson mentioned.
“She works to satisfy the individualized wants of the scholars in her classroom by offering differentiated studying alternatives for all,” she mentioned. “She is supportive of our distinctive schooling employees and households and is a valued participant in our IEP [individualized educational plan] committee conferences.”
A trainer at RTMS – previously South Central Center – since 2005, Cole, 51, mentioned she was notified in regards to the award throughout what she thought was an IEP assembly on Zoom with lead particular schooling trainer Dr. Debra Warren.
“Nonetheless, once I joined the net convention and noticed my principal, Dr. [Wes] Dickey, together with a number of employees members from central workplace, my assumptions shortly went out the window,” she mentioned. “I used to be completely caught off guard and stunned. I’m nonetheless astonished and honored to obtain such an award. The presenters had been upset that they might not have stunned me in my classroom and needed to do it just about.”
The Cartersville resident, who will likely be shifting right into a newly constructed home in Adairsville by summer season, bought a late begin in schooling, turning into a trainer after being a bus driver, a paraprofessional, a faculty bookkeeper and Emerson Elementary Principal Nancy Summey’s secretary.
“It was beneath the management and steering from Mrs. Summey, together with the academics at Emerson Elementary, that I started school for the primary time on the age of 33 to pursue a profession in schooling,” she mentioned.
Amerson mentioned one high quality that snagged the excellent highschool worker award for Benefield was “her capacity to construct relationships.”
“Amber works carefully with our college students and fogeys and is ready to suppose ‘exterior of the field’ to seek out inventive options to satisfy scholar wants,” she mentioned. “She is a bridge builder and works collaboratively with common schooling, administration and fogeys.”
The lead trainer at Adairsville Excessive for 4 years – and an inclusion trainer for 3 years earlier than that – will likely be taking a place as assistant principal at AHS subsequent 12 months, and Amerson mentioned her co-workers will “miss her in our division however stay up for continued collaboration.”
Benefield, 40, mentioned a number of academics from AHS and central workplace employees “stunned” her with the award throughout a digital assembly through Groups.
“First, I used to be caught off guard and left speechless,” the Adairsville resident mentioned. “It was particular to listen to the sort phrases that was submitted by the academics that nominated me for the award. I felt like I had received the lottery. The small wins in life are what retains us going. As educators and to me, this was an enormous win. At AHS, we’re a crew of academics, they usually all deserve this award greater than I do. I like working with these academics. They’re my household.”
The three winners will obtain certificates someday sooner or later.
Amerson mentioned she selected Chester, who has labored for the varsity district for 24 years as a common schooling trainer, hospital homebound trainer and father or mother mentor and is mother to 3 youngsters who attended BCSS colleges, because the Director’s Alternative recipient as a result of she “brings her ardour for serving college students and households to the whole lot she does.”
“She helps to construct a bridge of collaboration and belief between the varsity and households,” she mentioned. “Her balanced perspective helps each dad and mom and academics to raised perceive one another’s views and experiences so we will work collectively to attain the very best outcomes for our college students.”
Amerson mentioned throughout her three years as director, the 16-year father or mother mentor has been an “accountability companion, an encourager, a useful resource and a buddy.”
“Realizing Kim, we all know that the very last thing she seeks is recognition; nonetheless, we’re excited for this chance to acknowledge her and her contributions to the varsity system,” she mentioned.