Celebrate Superintendent's Star Award Winners

Celebrate Superintendent's Star Award Winners
Posted on 01/27/2019

Congratulations to 15 division employees who have been named winners of the Superintendent’s Star Award for First Semester 2018-19.

A recognition reception will be held Thursday, February 7, beginning at 6 p.m. at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School.

Judges consider initiative, school spirit, creativity, commitment, and attitude to recognize those who are making a real difference in the lives of students.  A total of 15 staff members -- out of 46 nominees -- were selected as top honorees for the Superintendent’s Star Award recognition.

Division-Wide Instructional Staff Award: 
Hope Paquette
Math Teacher at John Yeates Middle School

Division-Wide Support Staff Award:
Kathy LeGrand
Teacher Assistant at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School

Hope Paquette was nominated by parent JoAnn Murray, who was “deeply grateful for Paquette’s daily commitment to excellence and to meeting the needs of EVERY child in her classroom.”  Murray’s daughter Samantha has cerebral palsy with limited fine motor skills.  In math, her writing difficulty is quite an obstacle. Murray praised Paquette’s willingness to go above and beyond Samantha’s individualized education plan (IEP) to create adapted handouts and review notes. “Mrs. Paquette tells me that she has taught for 40 years, but her passion is still as vibrant as that of a first-year teacher,” the parent said.  “We appreciate the clear pattern to her instruction-- she provides notes, gives classwork activities, and then follows with diagnostic quizzes that show us Samantha’s strengths and weaknesses.”  Murray said her notes and examples are “so thorough that her father and I can easily help her at home.”  While Samantha has an assistant during the school day, Paquette has developed a way to help her in group after-school tutoring sessions.  Murray came early to pick her daughter up one day: “My heart was full at the sight of Samantha enjoying every moment.  She was actively participating and learning, while loving the extra attention.”

Kathy LeGrand was nominated by teacher Barbara Espinosa, who praised LeGrand’s devotion to school spirit and staff morale: “She does things every day for our staff that are not required, often without being asked.  I am sure that if she was paid overtime for all the hours she puts in, it would probably exceed her salary!  And best of all, she does it ALL with a huge, warm smile on her face and hugs all around.”  Espinosa first met LeGrand this summer.  LeGrand was not even required to be there yet, but she took her time out of summer break to be in the school helping other staff accomplish their jobs.  Part of LeGrand’s back-to-school assistance includes covering every teacher’s door with bulletin board paper, so they can get a head start on their door decorations.  She is also a power player with school bus arrival and dismissal, working closely with bus drivers to resolve any “bumps in the road” with student riders.  LeGrand is also a magician with making holidays and events special, boosting joy in the building and photographing classroom events to share with the community.

Additional Instructional Staff Honorees

  • Elizabeth Alston, Health & PE Teacher at Pioneer Elementary School
  • Draya Burden, Guidance Counselor at Creekside Elementary School
  • Valerie Cobb, 2nd-Grade Teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary School
  • Keri Dudley, 4th-Grade Teacher at Creekside Elementary School
  • Glenda Jones, Guidance Counselor at Turlington Woods School
  • Jennifer Niemi, English Teacher at John Yeates Middle School
  • Paula Pulley, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Technology Dept.
  • Angela Salerno, Art Teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary School
  • Erika Williams, 3rd-Grade Teacher at Creekside Elementary School

Additional Support Staff Honorees

  • Leslie Littlejohn, Teacher Assistant at Northern Shores Elementary School
  • Jill Queen, Teacher Assistant at Pioneer Elementary School
  • Latricia Russell-Wilkerson, Textbook & Records Technician for SPS
  • Angela Van Hemel, Custodian at Nansemond River High School

Suffolk Public Schools is comprised of more than 2,000 employees whose sole purpose is to educate, feed, transport and administer to more than 14,000 students each school day. To recognize the outstanding work and contributions of our employees in each semester of a school year, Suffolk Public Schools has established the Superintendent’s Star Award.  Employees selected as Star Award winners will receive a recognition certificate signed by Superintendent, a $100 check provided by the Suffolk Education Foundation, and a 4-by-3-foot vinyl congratulations banner to be displayed at the winner’s work location.  Second semester nominations for the 2018-19 school year are due will be due April 15, 2019.

Link here to fill out the Nomination Web Form


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