The Sullivan County school system recently honored 38 individuals or groups May 11 at Northeast State Community College during its fourth annual employee awards and special recognition celebration called the Pinnacle Awards. The annual event, which began under former Director of Schools Jubal Yennie, recognizes employees for going above and beyond expectations, Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said.
Among this year’s winners were Elementary Teacher of the Year Charity Dowell of Blountville Elementary, a SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education) fellow and 2016-17 professional development facilitator for the system; Middle School Teacher of the Year Blakleah Hensley, a seventh-grade math and English teacher at Bluff City Middle; High School Teacher of the Year Krystal Wallen, a South High math teacher among the tops in Tennessee for students’ end-of-course grades; and Emmett Elementary 22-year Principal Deborah Stevenson.
The event also honored five cafeteria staffs across the school system that scored a perfect 100 on health inspections:
— Central Heights Elementary: Angie Taylor, Sue Joyce and Sarah Farmer.
— Sullivan Central: Lori Harr, Morgan Anderson, Jackie Bragg, Vickie Fields, Valerie Malone and Stephanie Whitt.
— Holston Elementary/Middle: Rita Frazier, Tiffany Edwards, Patricia Sharpe, Marsha Roberts and Teresa Vance.
— Ketron Elementary: Debbie Beckman, Teresa Forrester, Brittany Glover, Rebecca Herron, Angela Jarrett, Lesia Jobe, Emma Pogue and Christie Simpson.
— Sullivan Gardens K-8: Darlene Garrett, Lori Bowers, Michelle Bombailey and Robin Peter.
Others recognized were Emmett first-grade teacher and English language learning district teacher Kristy Altizer; Rock Springs Elementary teacher Nathan Bailey; Bluff City Middle special education teacher Kim Blevins; East High art teacher Debra Brooks; Mary Hughes (K-8) first-grade teacher Leigh Ann Bryant; and Central Assistant Principal Justin Calhoun, the school’s “ACT guru.”
Others were Toni Campbell, a career technical education cosmetology teacher at South High; Bluff City Middle interventionist Dorothy Carmack; Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Lee Carswell, a non-school system employee who oversees the school resource officers in the system; custodian John Carter of Rock Springs Elementary; first-grade Indian Springs Elementary teacher Vicki Conrad; and Sullivan North High teacher and student council adviser Suzanne Demming.
Also recognized were Ketron Elementary Principal Sherry DeVault; South High math teacher Anne Dunn; East High boys basketball coach John Dyer, who last year marked 500 wins in a career of more than 30 years; system-wide special education coordinator Angie Hilton; Colonial Heights Middle bookkeeper Mary Hogue; Tracy Latham, school counselor at Weaver Elementary that closed at the end of the 2016-17 school year; Sullivan North Middle/High bookkeeper Vicki Mays; Holston Elementary secretary Leslie McClain; and Indian Springs Elementary second-grade teacher Brandy Nothnagel.
The rest were Caz Razo, STEM teacher at Colonial Heights Middle; Chris Reynolds, administrative assistant, physical education teacher and only male teacher at Emmett Elementary; Salley Shipley, Central High culinary arts teacher; Miller Perry Elementary’s Jody Smith; South High chemistry teacher Gerri St. Clair; Central High foreign language teacher Katherine Stephenson, who spent her own money to take a test to qualify to teach French; South High English teacher Jan Street and Mary Hughes custodian Cindy White.