Congratulations to the 2019-20 NNPS Support Staff of the Year
Posted: June 11, 2019
These professional members of the Newport News Public Schools team dedicate themselves to advancing the mission by ensuring that students graduate college, career and citizen-ready. They are representative of more than 5,000 devoted employees who serve and support our students.
Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Ms. Truesdale-Hales is a records secretary with 15 years of service. She started her career serving as an instructional assistant. As the records secretary, she is taking on a new role by welcoming students and reassuring anxious parents as their children begin their first school experience. Her colleagues value her nurturing spirit and encouraging words.
SPED Instructional Assistant
Ms. White is a special education instructional assistant with 29 years of service. Ms. White truly sees the potential in all of her students, and she has high expectations, which they strive to meet. She takes on numerous additional responsibilities: she supports the PTA, participates in school events, provides child care for parent workshops, and serves on three school committees.
Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Ms. Willis has 3 years of service with the school division. Ms. Willis goes above and beyond, and greets every day with a positive attitude. She connects with and encourages staff. Her colleagues describe her as a team player; there’s no job she won’t tackle. Ms. Willis takes pride in her work, ensuring that her school is clean, safe and a beautiful place to teach and learn.
Nanci Von Jacobi
Marshall Early Learning Center
Ms. Von Jacobi is a school nurse with two years of service. Nurse V is kind and compassionate to the students and staff. In addition to providing great health care, Nurse V has taught her students quilting and felting. She has implemented several wellness initiatives including 100 miles in 100 days. Guess who’s winning this challenge? Nurse V!
Watkins Early Childhood Center
Ms. Keller is an instructional assistant with two years of service. She is a role model to her students and provides much-needed support for preparation and classroom instruction. Ms. Keller serves on the school social committee, planning monthly activities to boost staff morale. She is always willing to assist other teachers and students; she has dedicated herself to supporting the well-being of everyone at Watkins.
School Security Officer
An Achievable Dream Academy
Mr. Brickhouse has 31 years of service – all at Achievable Dream! Mr. Brickhouse arrives every morning ready to serve his precious commodity: the Dreamers. His administrator says he is a great example of how hard work and heart-work bind their school community. He ensures the smooth flow of the school’s daily operations, while focusing on safety.
Carver Elementary School
Ms. Powell has 7 years of service. She works with students who are identified as emotionally disabled. She organized a safe and efficient dismissal process for special needs students. Ms. Powell is highly respected by her colleagues and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. Her students respect and love her, and most refer to her as "Mom" because she cares for them as she does her own children.
B.C. Charles Elementary School
Mr. McPhatter is a night custodian who consistently goes the extra mile. He has five years of service. Mr. McPhatter encourages and mentors students and is always willing to lend a hand. His administrator noted that he exemplifies all of the B.C. Charles REACH traits: he’s respectful, puts forth his best effort, has a positive attitude, cooperates with everyone and is honest.
SPED Instructional Assistant
Deer Park Elementary School
Ms. Savage serves as a special education instructional assistant; she has 17 years of service. Ms. Savage works collaboratively with general education and special education teachers to develop strategies to ensure her students’ learning and comprehension. She also coordinates the morning student drop-off at the satellite pick up location. She is present in the rain, snow, wind and sun to ensure the safe arrival of students.
Discovery STEM Academy
Ms. Deloatch has 26 years of service. In addition to her regular work load, Ms. Deloatch works with 5th grade student interns to ensure that everything runs smoothly. She supports families too. She and her husband have donated turkeys to our families in need at Thanksgiving. Under her guidance, the school is clean and attractive for students, staff and all special events.
Kindergarten Instructional Asst.
Dutrow Elementary School
Ms. Tatum has one year of service. She creates a culture of learning and kindness. She provides students with small group instruction in reading and math to support their learning. She also sponsors a kindness club. Ms. Tatum volunteers to support other classrooms if a substitute is not available. Her colleagues note that she takes initiative and supports all school events.
Epes Elementary School
Ms. Poma has 14 years of service. She is commended for helping students one-on-one and in small groups, and supporting the office staff and teachers.
SPED Instructional Assistant
Gen. Stanford Elementary School
Ms. Jones has 12 years of experience. Ms. Jones takes great pride in her students’ academic and social growth. She takes time to build a rapport with her students and often joins them for lunch. She visits students and families and offers study tips. Ms. Jones serves on several school committees and is considered a vital member of the Eagle team.
Greenwood Elementary School
Ms. Elliott-Rodgers has four years of experience in education and is always on the move supporting teaching and learning. She finds ways to engage students to help them become problem-solvers and critical thinkers. She serves as the bus coordinator, works with the Kindness Committee, and tutors students after-school in reading and math.
School Security Officer
Hidenwood Elementary School
Mr. Gary has 20 years of service in Newport News. Mr. Gary’s administrator noted that he is more than a security officer – he’s the glue that holds the school together. He monitors the safety of students and he establishes relationships with students to encourage academic success. Mr. Gary visits classrooms to listen to students read, and he works with students to increase their math skills.
Crossing Guard/Instructional Asst.
Hilton Elementary School
Ms. Flicek has 5-and-a-half years of service. She knows the families at Hilton and ensures that students arrive and leave school safely each day. Her small group instruction for first and fifth-graders this year is having an impact – her students are making great gains. She also conducts class enrichment sessions, and supports the STEM competition teams.
Jenkins Elementary School
Mr. Alexander is a lead custodian with 15 years of experience. He has a great rapport with students, teachers and parents. He goes above and beyond his duties and is always willing to provide assistance. He offers encouraging words to struggling students to show his support. His positive spirit and can-do attitude has a huge impact on the Jenkins family.
Kiln Creek Elementary School
Ms. Stephens is an instructional assistant with 5 years of service. Ms. Stephens works with students in small group sessions to increase their learning.
Asjah Rae Koger
Lee Hall Elementary School
Ms. Koger is an instructional assistant with four years of experience in education. Ms. Koger always goes the extra mile for students and staff. She works with students in small group instruction in reading and math. She also assists with the creation of student art projects. When she noticed that the PTA needed to be more active, she took on the role of president, and the PTA has flourished.
Theresa Taylor Nehez
SPED Instructional Assistant
McIntosh Elementary School
Ms. Nehez is an instructional assistant with 22 years of experience in education. Ms. Nehez is the definition of a team player. She takes on many tasks and roles that exceed her normal duties. Reliable, committed and friendly are the words that are used to describe Ms. Nehez. Her administrator says she has a positive impact on the school culture and community.
SPED Instructional Assistant
Nelson Elementary School
Ms. Calliste is a special education instructional assistant with 2 and-a-half years of service. Ms. Calliste leads reading and math small group instruction. She ensures her students have access to assistive technology to provide quality instruction during their writing sessions. Ms. Calliste actively seeks new materials and strategies to ensure her students reach their highest potential.
Newsome Park Elementary School
During his 21-year career at Newsome Park, Mr. Baptist has supported parades, and attended football games to see former Newsome Park students. He has built strong and productive relationships over the years. To share his love of art, Mr. Baptist sponsored a painting club. Under his guidance, the students created ceiling tiles to beautify the building.
Palmer Elementary School
Ms. Walker is in her first year of service. Building upon her background in youth mentoring, Ms. Walker created a mentoring group and set academic or personal growth goals with each student. She eats lunch with the students, helps them with homework, serves as a reading buddy and administers pep talks. Ms. Walker goes above her administrative duties to make a difference in students' lives.
Richneck Elementary School
Ms. Naotala is administrative secretary, who joined the school division 3 and-a-half years ago. Ms. Naotala is the morale booster for staff. She hosts holiday celebrations, and she launched a birthday celebration program this year. Ms. Naotala is every teacher’s go-to person. And the students love her too. On any given morning, visitors will see students coming into the office to give Ms. Naotala a hug or tell her about their evening.
Riverside Elementary School
Mr. Ruffin gives 100 percent of himself every day. His school has committed to improving the environment through recycling. Mr. Ruffin and his team are dedicated to this effort. They manage 10 recycling bins every day. In addition, Riverside students recycle plastic bags. Mr. Ruffin has managed over 300 pounds of plastic bags so far this year. He also takes time to build relationships with students and staff.
Augustine "Darlene" Thomas
Sanford Elementary School
Ms. Thomas has 20 years of experience in education. Ms. Thomas comes to work every day with a passion. She is always willing to go the extra mile to support teachers and staff. She has a wealth of experience but she is always willing to learn more to support her students.
Saunders Elementary School
Ms. Shull is a media and office assistant in her first year at Saunders. Right from the start, Ms. Shull rolled up her sleeves and transformed the library into an inviting space for students. She fosters relationships with all students and seeks to provide them with leadership opportunities. Ms. Shull also supports the school office during peak times, greeting all visitors with a warm smile and helpful spirit.
Sedgefield Elementary School
Ms. Ray has 30 years of service in our school division. Ms. Ray takes great pride in helping students select books and advance their reading skills. During the librarian’s absence, Ms. Ray conducted the classroom lessons. She has a special way of talking with students, so they know she cares about them. Her administrator said that the Sedgefield family is fortunate to have Ms. Ray.
Yates Elementary School
Ms. Marshall is a records secretary with four years of experience. Ms. Marshall goes far above and beyond her assigned duties to ensure great customer service. Every visitor is greeted with kindness. Ms. Marshall makes it her mission to get to know the students, staff and parents. She constantly seeks to improve her skills to better serve families, students and staff.
Achievable Dream Middle & High
Mr. Radcliffe has served An Achievable Dream for 11 years. He is committed and loyal and always available to assist. He moves furniture, hangs items, laminates, opens lockers and doors, loads and unloads deliveries, and fixes everything. The custodial team says he is a true team player. Mr. Radcliffe takes great pride in his work and in his school.
School Security Officer
Crittenden Middle School
Ms. Crocker has 26 years of service to education. Ms. Crocker takes great pride in her work. She maintains a tight ship on the 7th grade hallway, and in other parts of the school. Her goal is to get to know students who need a little extra love. Ms. Crocker mentors students, giving them positive affirmations. She often speaks to students to help them make it through class without disruption. Students in all grade levels know her and respect her.
Student Support Specialist
Dozier Middle School
Mr. Congress has 7 years of experience. Mr. Congress works beyond his required job duties. He takes the time to mentor students, plan activities, and build relationships. When students need a parent representative, they often ask: Can Mr. Congress step in as my parent? He believes that every student deserves a chance to be their best, and he works to give students these opportunities.
Gildersleeve Middle School
Ms. Roper goes above and beyond her regular work. She readily sacrifices her planning period to assist a student or teacher when needed. She also volunteers to assist with afterschool events. She has a good rapport with students and staff. Ms. Roper is a great role model for other instructional assistants.
Lead School Security Officer
Hines Middle School
Ms. Holloway is the lead security officer, and she has 17 years of experience. Ms. Holloway is an active and supportive member of the team who works hard for the entire school. She is cognizant about safety concerns and she works diligently to ensure that all matters are resolved to maintain an orderly and safe environment. Her administration says she is a great asset to Hines.
School Security Officer
Huntington Middle School
Mr. Silver is a school security officer with 13 years of experience. Mr. Silver is positive, visible and firm. He plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of students. He uses humor to connect with students and regularly speaks positive, real-life words of wisdom into students. Mr. Silver can foresee potentially difficult situations and he works to deescalate them by discussing effective choice-making with students.
Passage Middle School
Mr. Partlow is an instructional assistant with three years of service at Passage. Mr. Partlow’s administrator says that his relationships with all students make him a role model for educators everywhere. His technology expertise makes him a hit with the Morning News Crew; and his flexibility and positive can-do attitude makes him a hit with his students, colleagues and administrators.
Technology Support Specialist
B. T. Washington Middle School
Mr. Mitnick has served the school division for a year-and-a-half. In addition to serving as the downtown lead TSS, his principal shared that Mr. Mitnick supports teaching and learning by doing an excellent job maintaining their technology so that teachers can make sure students are successful. He is quick to respond to issues and he offers suggestions to prevent future challenges.
Denbigh High School
Ms. Jones has 20 years of service to the school division. Ms. Jones works tirelessly to streamline financial processes and she consistently monitors the financial activity of school accounts. Throughout the year, she provides training and workshops for staff members on how to maintain their receipt books and financial records. Ms. Jones has even established a grading system for staff to ensure best accounting practices.
Ms. Caudle has served the school division for 6 years. Many students come to school each day without having a meal the night before. Ms. Caudle understands that to get an education, first and foremost, students need to have something to start their day off right. Her principal says she does a tremendous job greeting students with a smile and sending them on their way with a sense of hope and accomplishment.
Student Support Coordinator
Heritage High School
Mr. Chandler has 28 years of service, he has been an influential member of the 5800 family for 10 years. As the in-school suspension coordinator, he was worked to create an environment where students feel safe to grown and learn. Mr. Chandler has developed opportunities to include research-based best practices to change student behaviors. He frequently facilitates restorative circles to give students the opportunity to see how their choices impact the school.
Menchville High School
Ms. Abadie has served the school division for 20 years. She is the principal’s right hand, the voice of Menchville and the face of guidance. She pulls double duty serving as administrative secretary and guidance secretary. She coordinates substitutes and ParentVue accounts, and ensures that student records are meticulously maintained. And she still finds time to partner with the Lead 2 Feed club to run a backpack food program for students.
Ms. Rodgers has 28 years of experience. She wears numerous hats. She is the first person to greet you in the morning as she collects the lunch order from each student. Every day she picks up the lunches from the adjoining campus in all weather conditions. When substitutes are unavailable, Ms. Rodgers fills in. She also serves as the field trip coordinator and bookkeeper.
Tamika Freeman Rivera
Warwick High School
Ms. Freeman Rivera has 12 years of service. Her duties go beyond the desk of a registrar. Ms. Freeman Rivera meets with students to discuss their grades and to design a plan for improvement. She assists with student conflict resolution. She also readily helps students find scholarships, complete financial aid applications, and write recommendation letters. This year she also serves as the bus coordinator. The Warwick family is grateful for all she does.
Woodside High School
Ms. Martin has 9 years of service with the school division. Ms. Martin is a valued member of the staff. She coordinates substitute teachers, ensuring coverage, the availability of lesson plans, and orientations. She also keeps the staff encouraged. When someone is feeling down, she gives them words of encouragement. She offers help when needed, and eagerly assists with training new employees.
Print Shop Digital Operator
Mr. Bergquist has served the school division for nine years. Mr. Bergquist serves as a digital operator in the print shop. He operates multiple machines and equipment simultaneously. And he is very detailed oriented – a quality that his customers appreciate. He meets never-ending deadlines and he can catch mistakes that others miss. Mr. Bergquist has also elevated customer service. He has created paper sample books and color sample sheets. He is an essential and dedicated member of the team.
Logistics & Supply Supervisor
Child Nutrition & Warehouse
Mr. Shetterly has served the school division for 5 years. He serves as the logistics and supply supervisor. Mr. Shetterly is known to many, thanks to his trips to schools and worksites to drop off and pick up equipment and supplies. He coordinates the movement of equipment throughout the division. He is described as the King of Accommodation. To ensure a difficult request is met, Mr. Shetterly always devises a solution.
Human Resources & Payroll
Ms. Bland has served the school division for nearly 6 years. Ms. Bland takes great pride in her work. She often receives positive feedback from the people she assists with retirement planning and estimates, Medicare supplements, and many other matters whether it’s in her area or not. Ms. Bland goes above and beyond by staying late and coming in early to serve our retirees, and support the wellness program.
Electrician Crew Leader
Mr. Fernandez strives to streamline the functions of the electric shop while providing great customer service. He has offered new procedures to ensure the shop is more productive and cost efficient.
South Morrison & Denbigh Learning
Ms. Frink manages the building single-handedly during the day. She handles tasks from our city partners and school division staff, prioritizing them to ensure that all the work is completed. She juggles all such tasks with a great attitude and professionalism. Ms. Frink’s contributions to keeping the building safe and orderly can be challenging at times, given the age of the facility, but she ensures the daily operations run smoothly.
Technology & Information Services
Ms. Rice has 20 years of service in the technology department. Ms. Rice maintains our Google domain which includes managing our Google Classroom platform and maintaining an inventory of all Chrome devices, ensuring the best educational technology experience for our students and staff. She is also part of the security team, monitoring student Google content for their safety and well-being.
Ms. Shimek has worked in transportation since 2011. She consistently goes above and beyond with professionalism. She maintains bus data for capital improvement planning, and financial records for the vehicle fleet. She has single-handedly taken the lead to coordinate the move of the fleet maintenance department to its new location later this year. Ms. Shimek is also leading the bus fleet’s conversion to propane resulting in a tax credit rebate of over $27,000.