Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year to be named Friday
This year, for the first time, the Delaware Department of Education will recognize the best educational support professionals from each school and district and name one the state Educational Support Professional of the Year.
The inaugural ceremony will be held Friday, Nov. 20, recognizing outstanding service by school employees who provide direct or indirect services to students and their families.
"Educational support professionals provide vital services for our students and teachers," said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. "They are the paraprofessionals who often work with our students one-on-one or in small groups to provide the individualized instructional support some students need. They are the bus drivers and aides who safely transport our children to and from school daily.
"They are the custodial staff and office personnel who keep our schools running each day. They are the nutrition staff workers who make sure our children have the healthy meals they need to concentrate on learning. They are the technology staff helping students access instruction in person or from home. These are just a few examples of the crucial roles educational support personnel play in our schools."
Paraprofessionals, custodial staff, secretaries, nutritional staff, school- and district-employed bus drivers and aides are all considered for the award.
Educational support professionals are first nominated for the program at a building level, then a district/charter school network representative is chosen. Each winner receives a $1,000 personal award from the winner’s district or charter school.
This year's district-level winners include:
- Appoquinimink: Middletown High paraprofessional Valerie Raab (awarded posthumously)
- Brandywine: P.S. duPont Middle paraprofessional Ryan Matthews
- Caesar Rodney: W.B. Simpson Elementary paraprofessional Paula Kohout
- Cape Henlopen: Richard Shields Elementary paraprofessional Chantal Smith
- Capital: William Henry Middle School paraprofessional Jamel Trott
- Delaware Charter School Network: Charter School of Wilmington Assistant to the President/Admissions Director Suzanne Musacchio
- Christina: Jennie E. Smith Elementary senior administrative secretary Alice Williams
- Colonial: Southern Elementary paraprofessional Holly Wiedenmann
- Delmar: Delmar High School Intensive Learning Center assistant Odell Jones Jr.
- Indian River: Indian River High IT technician David Clark
- Lake Forest: Lake Forest North Elementary Child Nutrition Services Manager Karen Mast
- Laurel: Laurel High School custodian Justin Saulsbury
- Milford: Lulu Ross Elementary paraprofessional Robert Newsome
- NCCVT: Hodgson Vo-Tech paraprofessional Megan McClelland
- POLYTECH: POLYECH High Technician Plant Operator& Maintenance James Demko
- Red Clay Consolidated: A.I. duPont High paraprofessional Kathryn Ellis
- Seaford: Central Elementary school behavioral interventionist LuAnn Holden
- Smyrna: North Smyrna Elementary paraprofessional Nadine Collins
- Sussex Tech: Sussex Tech High School Technology Coordinator Philip Wilson
- Woodbridge: Woodbridge Middle School chief custodian Thomas “Pete” Faulk
"I laud each of these nominees for his or her outstanding work and look forward to honoring one of them with the state award," Secretary Bunting said.
The statewide winner will receive a $1,500 personal award from the Department of Education, as well as $2,500 to be used for the educational benefit of his or her students.