CHARLES TOWN – More than 150 turned out last week as the Jefferson County school system paid tribute to outstanding teachers and service personnel.
During Thursday’s annual banquet at Hollywood Casino and Charles Town Races, Rachel Potts, a first-grade teacher from North Jefferson Elementary, was named Teacher of the Year while Juanita Smallwood, a classroom aide from South Jefferson Elementary, was honored as the top member of the service personnel staff.
Potts, who has spent more than 10 years with the school system, inspires others and keeps “everyone else in the building on their toes,” said her principal, Mary Ann Jenkins.
Smallwood, who has worked in a special education classroom at South Jefferson for five years, treats everyone with respect, according to her principal, Richard Jenkins.
“She constantly challenges herself to become even better at her job, collaborates well with others in the building,” he said, “[She] is admired by her peers and is an asset to the school community.”
Sheriff Pete Dougherty, the former longtime school board member, presented special gifts to both women in memory of his wife Sandy Dougherty, whose career with the school system included working as an English teacher, coordinator of the at-risk students program and attendance director.
He gave a Walmart gift card to Smallwood and to Potts an $800+ scholarship to Leadership Jefferson, the year-long Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce program.
Nominees were also given recognition during the event, with formal introductions from their principals or supervisors as well as certificates presented by Gary Kable, the president of the Jefferson County Board of Education.
Superintendent Susan K. Wall also spoke, along with Sherry Hetzel, a curriculum coordinator for the county.
Service Personnel nominees come from each school as well as the county maintenance and transportation departments and the Central Office. Faculty Senates at each school make nominations for Teacher of the Year.
Nominees then complete an application and are interviewed by selection committees made up of represenatatives from outside the school system.
This year, nominees for Teacher of the Year included Sandra Fraim (Blue Ridge Elementary), Tami Zirkle (Blue Ridge Primary), Tamra McDougall (C.W. Shipley Elementary), Rachel Allen (Charles Town Middle), Kayla Jainniney (Driswood Elementary), Courtney Stewart (Harpers Ferry Middle), Karma Wood (Jefferson High), Sheryl Fiolek (Page Jackson Elementary), Megan Kitzmiller (Ranson Elementary), Amanda Groff (Shepherdstown Elementary), Stephanie Unger (Shepherdstown Middle), Christina Slagle (South Jefferson Elementary), Sheila Young (T.A. Lowery Elementary), Barbara Zingg (Washington High), Sharon Athey (Wildwood Middle), and Lindsay Dove (Wright Denny Intermediate).
Nominees in the service personnel catergory included: Paul Runion (Blue Ridge Elementary), Sheila Kincaid (Blue Ridge Primary), Tami Bailey (Central Office), Sheila Woods (C.W. Shipley Elementary), Tracey Merriman (Charles Town Middle), Dena Andrew (Driswood Elementary), Jessica Chapman (Harpers Ferry Middle), Betsy Dougherty (Jefferson High), Jerry Powell ( Maintenance Department), Cheryl Brown (North Jefferson Elementary), Vickie Drummond (Martin Delaney Opportunity Learning Center), Robert Gibson (Page Jackson Elementary), Sandra Longerbeam (Ranson Elementary), Julie Eldridge (Shepherdstown Elementary), Tina Hartlove (Shepherdstown Middle), Charles Winfrey (T.A. Lowery Elementary), Harry Childs (Transportation Department), Leslie Cushwa (Washington High), Ronda Wilson (Wildwood Middle) and Jay Martin (Wright Denny Intermediate).
Now Potts and Smallwood will go on to represent Jefferson County in the statewide competitions.