SPS Staff “Spring” into the Norfolk Zoo

Division-Wide Staff Appreciation Day
Posted on 04/27/2022

Anne Mccoy, Supervisor of Employee, Health and Physical Education, understands that social and emotional resources are just as necessary for staff as it is for students. Our SPS staff continued to do their best to put our students first, keep them safe, and ensure that learning did not stop throughout the pandemic challenges. As a district, we are grateful for the many dedicated and committed members who serve on "Team SPS." To show our appreciation, members of the School Administrative Offices, led by Anne McCoy, invited our staff to "Spring Into the Zoo!', on Saturday, April 23, 2022.


With over 5,000 in attendance, staff and their families enjoyed an exciting day of fun, relaxation, and family engagement at the Norfolk Zoo. The event included free admission, food, a train ride, and a chance for staff members to showcase their talent in an SPS talent showcase organized by Dr. Joleen Neighbors, Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts. Staff and their families enjoyed music and entertainment by Chris Phillips, SPS audiovisual and lighting technician, who served as the DJ for the day. Families also participated in a scavenger hunt, which offered an opportunity to learn more about the zoo animals and a chance to win prizes.


Over 80 volunteers from departments across the division played significant roles in the event's success. The SPS Food and Nutrition Services team prepared food items, including pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, hamburgers, made-from-scratch coleslaw, and corn on the cob. Vegetarian and gluten-free options were also made available. Food preparation began days in advance. However, several team members arrived at SPS school buildings as early as 3 a.m. to ensure that items were served fresh. Members of the Transportation team joined forces to assist in food preparation, including Director of Transportation Kevin Privott and Supervisor of Transportation Beverly Young. Several staff members from many other departments volunteered in various capacities.
We had numerous donated prizes such as: AMF 2-hour combo packs of bowling, Laser Tag, and shoes.  Jersey Mikes donated over 30 free sub coupons. Walmart and Amici’s both donated one $50 gift card each, Panera donated 2 packs of 5 free meal certificates.  The Norfolk Tides donated 8 total game tickets, scarf, baseball cards, and one hat. Texas Roadhouse, College Drive donated ten $15 gift cards.  Chick Fil A College Drive donated a thermal cup with 2 free meal tickets.  Outback Chesapeake Square donated three $10 gift certificates.  George’s Steakhouse in Suffolk donated one $20 gift certificate.


"This was truly a family reunion," said Jamillah Silver, Supervisor of Instruction for Special Education. "Many of us have not had a chance to see one another in person, and it felt amazing to come together." In an announcement during the event, Dr. John B. Gordon, III, Suffolk Public Schools division superintendent, expressed that this was the first event, but it will not be the last! Suffolk Public Schools can look forward to another staff event in Spring 2023. The division gives a special thank you to all who had a helping hand in putting the event together and the volunteers who helped make it happen. A very special thank you goes out to Melissa Rose, Event Coordinator for the Virginia Zoo.

Zoo Web Banner (Video)