Elkin City Schools closed out the year by celebrating the achievements of teachers, principals, Elkin School Board of Education and student body in what was defined the ECS Journey to significance.
Elementary Middle School teacher Pam Colbert received the title of 2014 Principal of the Year.
In her speech after being recognized as Principal of the Year, Colbert expressed excitement about the STEAM program. She said kids liked it because it was a hands-on approach and found it gave them more choice in learning.
She added, “Our goal was to help the kids be excited.” Bledsoe commended her work in STEAM and congratulated her on the award.
Elkin Elementary School Principal Anthony Davis presented Colbert with the award and also spoke at the recognitions ceremony. Davis said, “As long as we continue to learn and we will make progress.” He said teacher reflections described the STEAM program akin to a revival.
ECS Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, who received a 35-year service award at the review presented by Davis, led the ceremony. He reminded that each personal journey of significance in Elkin City Schools has led to the system being first in the percentage of teachers meeting or exceeding student growth expectations in North Carolina and the highest rate of graduation in the state of North Carolina.
Bledsoe recognized the Board of Education for its importance in the role of education. Board members include Chairman Foley Norman, Vice Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar, Stuart Roten, Haley Sullivan and James Freeman.
In his speech, Bledsoe said teachers ask questions like: Am I making an impact? Yes, he answered. He said education data shows teachers in the ECS classroom are meeting and exceeding growth expectations daily.
Bledsoe said due to such efforts by staff and students, Elkin Middle School now ranks first in eighth-grade science, second in eighth-grade language arts, fifth in eighth-grade math; and ninth in seventh-grade English.
“It means we are doing something right and the teachers are doing phenomenal job,” Bledsoe said. “We are creating the future every day for these students.”
An invocation given by Roten of the board of education led the celebration. An address was given by the 2013-14 Teacher of the Year Kali Teague.
Teague thanked all for the opportunity to serve as Teacher of the Year and thanked the FCCLA for the food provided in school events and in particular, their chef salads.
Teague read a Dr. Seuss style poem on the hustle and bustle of exams combined with summer fever. It spoke on an awaited two-month summer vacation that will soon bring teachers back to work and concluded with “Oh how I love being a teacher.”
Board of Education member Norman congratulated Colbert and everyone for their hard work to make ECS a leader among North Carolina schools in all areas.
Bledsoe commended school staff for their hard work in grant writing to enhance areas of learning at ECS.
The 2014 FCCLA Outstanding Administrator was awarded to Barbara Long, who was commended for her dedication.
In addition, the JROTC was commended for its work and leadership.
ECS also received a Recognition Achievement in Financial Resource Management under Jan Zachary, recognized for financial resource management for the eighth year in a row.
Also in the ceremony, Jan Zachary presented the Elkin City Schools Retirees and Service Awards given to Joy Mathis and Kim Hooker. Myra Cook and Mike Fenley were recognized from the public business sector.
Zachary thanked 2014 retirees for their many years of dedication and hard work. Retirees from Elkin Elementary are: Jackie Thornburg, Jackie St. Louis, Mary Gentry (teacher assistant of 17 years).
Retirees from Elkin High are: Perry Lloyd, Betsy White, Richard Boulware, Mary Gwyn, Alma Gentry, Alma Reece (cafeteria assistant 18 years).
The Parent Advisory Committee was recognized and thanked for its hard work and contributions.
Bledsoe highlighted that Best of the Best recipients recently noted in The Elkin Tribune were Elkin Elementary and Elkin High School. The Best of the Best also included Principal Joel Hoyle; the ECS band and its director, Tonya Smith; and teacher Kim Monteleone of Elkin Elementary.
Five-year service awards were presented by Assistant Principal and Transportation Director Cassandra Morrison. They were given to Greta Lytton, Holly Simmons, Matthew Wagoner and Nicki Hiatt.
Morrison thanked them for “touching the lives of children every day.”
The 15-year service awards were presented by Colbert to Virginia Shores, Anthony Davis, Misty Ball and Heather Gilliam-Wall.
The 20-year service years award was presented by Hoyle to Amy Wagoner and Cynthia Altemueller.
The 30-year service years award was presented by Bledsoe and received by Betsy White.
Elkin City Schools Bus Driver of the Year was received by B.D. Reece and presented by ECS Human Resources Specialist Allison Moxley.
She also thanked Morrison for a “great job” done in transportation.
Elkin Elementary School Teacher Assistant of the Year was received by Jill Bellia.
Moxley recognized Teachers of the Year, Angela Adams and Chaise Swisher and Mary Shepherd.
Chairman of the board Norman, in closing comments, said, “Wow.” He added that it is really impressive what has taken place and asked for a hand for those involved.
Bledsoe said the school will be doing some summer tours of local businesses for the purpose of preparing the students for a future in corporate America.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.