UNION COUNTY — As it has in years past the Union County School District celebrated the start of the new school year this week with a program that included honoring its teachers of the year and recognizing its newest teachers.
Teachers returned to school Monday to begin preparing for the arrival of students this coming Monday. On Tuesday, the school district welcomed them and other school staff members and administrative personnel back with “Back To School Celebration 2016-2017” at Union County High School. The ceremony featured a light breakfast provided by Founders Federal Credit Union, door prizes for teachers, some light-hearted entertainment, and addresses by Union County School Board Chairman Jane Hammett, Superintendent Dr. Bill Roach, and 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Ireton.
Hammett opened the ceremony by describing the School Board as nine individuals representing nine single-member districts whose members include a pediatrician, two nurses, a social worker, three retired teachers who spent their lives working in the school district, and two businessmen. She said these nine individuals function as a group whose goal is to see to it that each school year is a successful one for all concerned.
“They want you to have a successful year,” Hammett said. “They want you to have a safe, disciplined work environment where kids are involved and engaged and getting an education that will allow them to be self-sufficient adults.”
Hammett said that the most important task for the board, which she said is responsible for the governance of the district, not its day-to-day operations, is to select the leadership for the district. She said that the board is confident that in Dr. Roach it has found a great leader for the district.
Looking to the year ahead, Hammett said the trustees wish for the teachers and staff of the school district is that at the end of the year they will be able to look back and say the following:
• I love my job.
• I have great co-workers.
• We have great leadership in our principals and administration.
• We have direction and common purpose.
• We are all doing our part to see that kids succeed.
• Union County Schools are great schools to work in and raise our kids.
Hammett concluded her address by telling the teachers, other school staff, and administrative personnel that she and the rest of the board hope they “have a great year.”
Teachers Of The Year
During the celebration, the 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year were called to the front of the auditorium by Director of Instruction and Accountability Cindy Langley to be recognized for their achievements as educators. The 2016-2016 Teachers of the Year and the schools they teach at are:
• Allison Caviness — Buffalo Elementary School
• Diane Drum — Monarch Elementary School
• Jennifer Roark — Foster Park Elementary School
• Brandi Ketterman — Jonesville Elementary/Middle School
• Seth Whitehead — Lockhart Schools
• Dawn Wheeler — Sims Middle School
• Mary Hooker — Union County Career and Technology Center
• Ralph Lawson — Union County High School
In addition to being the Teacher of the Year at UCHS, Lawson is also the district’s Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.
Tuesday’s celebration also saw the district’s newest teachers recognized during a part of the program conducted by Personnel Director Jeff Stribble. These are the new teachers and the schools they teach at:
Foster Park Elementary
• Roger Whitt — Teacher
• Jessica Silvey — Teacher
• Haley Wofford — Teacher
• Tracey Walker — Teacher
• Julie Harbin — Teacher
• Cathy Poole — Media Specialist
• Latrisha Tucker — Teacher
• Sarah McDonald — Teacher
• Kristin Mitchell — Teacher
• Carlin Friedholm — Teacher
• Samantha Boggiano — Teacher
• Courtney Franklin — Teacher
• Caroline Thomas — Teacher
• Tiffany Thomas — Teacher
• Amanda Newton — Teacher
• Andrew Preston — Teacher
• Tracey Hyatt — Teacher
• Maegon Smith — Teacher
• Bennie Waddle — Teacher
• Kyle Owings — Guidance Counselor
• April Latham — Teacher
• Carol Hardin — Media Specialist
• Amber Williams — Teacher
• Robert Ross — Teacher
• William Young — Teacher
• Samantha Green — Teacher
• Dr. Shannon Gibson — Principal
• Bradley Adams — Teacher, Football Coach, Athletic Director
• Tommy Adams — Teacher
• Brian Mahan — Teacher
• Michael Bailey — Teacher
• Deidre Jeter-Gregory — Teacher
• Zhimin Ke — Teacher
• Mario Perez — Teacher
• Indrasena Bandela — Teacher
• Kalan Rogers — Teacher
• David McIntrye — Teacher
• Katina Dunn — Teacher
• Russell Austin — Teacher
• Jenlaka Hames — TEacher
• Everett Orr — Teacher
• Jeffrey Whisenhunt — Teacher
• Michael Johnson — Teacher
• Donato Palumbo — School Psychologist
• Susan Feenin — School Psychologist
For more about this story, see Saturday’s edition of The Union Times and visit our website (www.uniondailytimes.com) and our Facebook page.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.