WCS recognizes more than 100 employees for excellent service

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Williamson County Schools administrators, teachers and staff got all dressed up Wednesday evening to honor more than 100 members of the district for their dedication to the schools and the difference they make in students’ lives across the county. 

This is the 22nd year the district has held the annual celebration, and as hundreds of people gathered at the Cool Springs Marriott for the ceremony, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden explained this is a time of year he always looks forward to. 

“I’ve always enjoyed this because we’ve had an opportunity to celebrate those of you who often don’t get celebrated in a formal, public way,” he said. “We can’t do this by ourselves. We have to work in a team, and it’s not just one group of folks. It’s everybody who serves our students.” 

Because the district is run by so many people, administrators took the time to recognize an employee from every department, a teacher from every school and a classified employee from every school. 

Beginning with the departmental employees of the year, Mark Samuels, the assistant superintendent for operations, recognized 11 hard workers: 

• Sparkle Smith, counselor at Heritage Middle 

• Kara Solano, department assistant for the superintendent’s office 

• Gail Davis, the cafeteria manager at Hillsboro 

• Leslie Hammon, nurse at Fairview Elementary 

• Duane Kazee, network technician 

• Jeremy Chapdelaine, electrician 

• Christa Williams, bus driver 

• Johannah Fredrick, pre-K teacher at Trinity 

• Clairann Vaughan, SACC site leader 

• Ann Ferree, speech language pathologist 

• Anna Hannigan, substitute teacher 

Denise Goodwin, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, then awarded 56 awards to elementary school teachers and classified employees — one from each school. She called up 17 special education teacher assistants, five general education teacher assistants, two technology teacher assistants, two secretaries and two bookkeepers to receive awards, and nearly every grade and subject was represented in the teacher awards, from kindergarten to fifth, math coach to visual arts.  

Goodwin said she, too, like Golden, looks forward to this event every year. 

“I think it is so wonderful that we can come in and celebrate individual excellence by all recognizing the collective energy service we provide to Williamson County students,” Goodwin said. 

The districtwide elementary awards went to Hillsboro bookkeeper D’Ann McAlister for the many roles she’s played at WCS and her dedication to organizing substitute teachers and Scales Elementary math coach Jaimee Dresdner for her data-driven work and endearing math-related graphic tees. 

Leigh Webb, assistant superintendent for secondary schools, then took the podium to award employees from middle and high schools. The classified awards were presented to several teacher assistants, secretaries, bookkeepers and library assistants, and teachers of all different subjects were also awarded.

The middle school and high school districtwide classified awards were presented to Grassland Elementary bookkeeper Martha Hall for being the “Gorilla Glue” of the school and Fairview Middle attendance secretary Kandi Groves for being the “epitome of sunshine, excitement and encouragement.” 

The middle school and high school districtwide teacher awards were given to Fairview Middle eighth-grade ELA teacher Alexandra Young, recognized for her ability to build relationships through vulnerability, and Centennial High career and technical education teacher Timothy Sawyer for his deep knowledge and dedication to the district. 

As Sawyer walked to the front of the room to receive the last award of the night, WCS Board of Education Vice Chairman Nancy Garrett met him with a hug and teary smile. Sawyer was in her graduating class. 

To learn more about WCS, visit wcs.edu.

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