What’s Right with Education

haulin netAll too often, the pundits in the blogosphere wax philosophical about the changes needed to fix education. Today, I want to depart from that position and recognize what is right with education.

On April 25, I was part of the committee to select the Certified Employee of the Year for Carteret County Schools. A certified employee is one with a degree who works to support students and teachers. (We also select a teacher of the year and a classified employee of the year.)

I look forward to this annual selection process, because this parade of champions comes to central office. These fine folks that walk into the room represent the high quality employees we have in our schools. In other words, in the course of seven hours, I get a thumbnail sketch of what’s right with education in all of our schools.

The candidates bring it all to interviews. Creativity, energy, experience, caring, thoughtfulness, and—most of all—passion flow in abundance.

The hard part is determining one winner. One reason it is difficult is because the certified employee category is comprised of a variety of job types.

We had to choose from a nurse, a speech pathologist, Cat in the Hat, three technology facilitators, four guidance counselors, one school-based exceptional children’s coordinator, three media coordinators, a curriculum specialist, a school psychologist, and a school social worker. How do you compare oranges to oranges and apples to apples with that assortment?

The day is a crash course in just how comprehensive public education is. We strive not only to nurture the whole child, but sometimes the whole family. And that level of service for every student that enters our schools came through again and again during the interview process.

I introduce to you in alphabetical order of the schools from which they were nominated—the 2007 Carteret County Public School System Certified Employees of the Year:

  • Mary Jane Govoni, nurse (Atlantic Elementary)
  • Patricia Smith, speech pathologist (Beaufort Elementary)
  • Geraline Castle, Cat in the Hat (Beaufort Middle)
  • Dianna Todd, instructional technology facilitator (Bogue Sound Elementary)
  • Marylene Tootle, guidance counselor (Broad Creek Middle)
  • Sue Dunlap, EC coordinator (Croatan High School)
  • Liz Kappel, guidance counselor (East Carteret High School)
  • Dianne Garner, media coordinator (Harkers Island Elementary)
  • Barbara Tomberlin, curriculum specialist (Morehead Elementary)
  • Lisa Raines, instructional technology facilitator (Morehead Middle)
  • Jodi Lewis, school social worker (Morehead City Primary)
  • Libba Frazelle, school psychologist (Newport Elementary)
  • Amy Heckroth, guidance counselor (Newport Middle)
  • Norma Fulton, media coordinator (Smyrna Elementary)
  • Amy McKay, instructional technology facilitator (West Carteret High School)
  • Jody Elliott, media coordinator (White Oak Elementary)

The other reason it is difficult to select one is because they all are winners! However, the candidate with the most votes from the committee will be named in mid-May.

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