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Sullivan school system honors 28 employees with Pinnacle Awards

Rick Wagner • May 6, 2016 at 7:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County’s school system recently honored 28 employees with the third annual Pinnacle Awards.

The recipients, including teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, supervisors and custodians, were nominated by other school employees and honored at a ceremony before Monday’s Board of Education meeting by Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski. The awards were started under former director Jubal Yennie to recognize employees for making outstanding contributions to the system. Recipients included employees who have gone above and beyond expectations and served the community.

“The nomination form was sent to every employee,” Rafalowski said Wednesday. Then, a committee chose the 28 to receive the awards. Each year, the awards are given out in early May, usually coinciding with National Teacher Appreciation Week.

The winners honored Monday night included teachers Celeste Arrowood of Bluff City Elementary, Allen Aubrey of Sullivan East High and Cheryl Bowery of Emmett Elementary.

Others were Lisa Clare, a Miller Perry Elementary counselor; Bluff City Middle teacher Lee Foley; Kim Greene of Central Office payroll; Amy Grizzel, a Central Office secretary; and Teri Hammonds, a Ketron instructional assistant.

Also winning were Mary Hughes teacher Beth Hare, Bluff City Middle teacher Blakleah Hensley, South High Assistant Principal Sherry Hooks, Central Heights Elementary teacher Jean Hughes, systemwide teacher Colleen Kuderewski and Sherry Lilly, Bluff City Middle librarian.

Other winners were Kim Lyon, Sullivan Gardens K-8 art teacher; Karen Lyons of Central Office payroll; Indian Springs Elementary custodian Shirley Moody; and teachers Kerri Munsey of Bluff City Elementary; Sonya Owens of North High; and Shayna Painter of Ketron Elementary.

Mike Pencharinha, Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee teacher; systemwide special education coordinator Kristie Robinette; Miller Perry Elementary custodian Sharon Rose Miller; and Sullivan Gardens K-8 teacher Connie Rosenbalm also won.

The rest were Lib Sells, supervisor of human resources in Central Office; Colonial Heights Middle teacher Adam Slaughter Rock Springs Elementary music teacher Lee Whitson; and Sullivan North Middle teacher Katie Widener.

Sells is retiring this year, as is Sullivan East High School Assistant Principal Janet Bailey. Rafalowski said the assistant principal position would be posted but that details of whether the Central Office position Sells holds would be posted and/or duties reorganized has not yet been determined.

In addition, the school district last month recognized its Tennessee Teacher of the Year nominees for 2016. In grades K-4, the winner was fourth grade Indian Springs Elementary teacher Britni Mains, while in 5-8 it was Colonial Heights Middle School teacher Karen Bear. The system had no high school nominee this year.

Also, Colonial Heights Middle School math teacher Stephanie Miller won a $25,000 McGlothlin Award this year. Of the money, at least $10,000 will go toward a trip to Switzerland to help her classroom instruction and find out why the Swiss students do so well in math. In addition, Sullivan North Principal Brent Palmer recently was named administrator of the year by a state student council association. Miller and Palmer were also recognized Monday.

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