“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way…” rang out as a Walton High School student serenaded the Classified Employees of the Year with her rendition of “The Greatest Love of All.”
The song summed up what each of the honored guests work toward every day as they provide support to teachers in the classroom. They are the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to help students succeed.
Every year, the District celebrates classified employees who go above and beyond, serve as role models, are always looking for ways to help, and are instrumental to success. As part of the annual luncheon at Roswell Street Baptist Church, four classified employees are surprised to learn that they stand out above the rest.
This year’s Classified Employee of the Year Level Winners include:
- Elementary School Level: Barbara Barrington, a paraprofessional at Rocky Mount Elementary School
- Middle School Level: Anna Abdulahi, a custodian at Durham Middle School
- High School Level: Lisa Hamill a paraprofessional at Pope High School
- Central Office Level: Donald Harper, a project specialist in the Food and Nutrition Services Department.
“She is the right hand of the kindergarten teacher, and does such a phenomenal job,” said Rocky Mount Principal Peggy Fleming. “Barbara is a kind, gentle, and wonderful person, who wants to do anything that she can to help anyone in the building.”
She even helped create a costume for Principal Fleming last year. When she’s not making costumes for the principal, she is helping to coach the school’s drama club.
Anna Abdulahi doesn’t make costumes, but she does make cheesecakes for the staff at Durham Middle School. The special custodian also puts a smile on the face of Durham Principal Patricia Alford when she leaves extra touches, like a Diet Coke in the principal’s fridge.
“She is the best custodian that I have ever worked with,” Principal Alford declared. “Our Superintendent likes to say that there are those that teach and those that serve those who teach, and Anna really embodies that. She truly feels that she serves the teachers, the staff and the students at Durham. She goes above and beyond. She takes such pride in the work that she does.”
In the decade that Lisa Hamill has worked in Cobb Schools, she has continued to stand out. This year was not her first year winning her school’s Classified Employee of the Year honor. She is described as a role model by her principal, but now she stands out as the example for the entire high school level to follow.
“Lisa will do everything from helping with general supervision to working a lot with kids in small groups,” said Pope Principal Tom Flugum. “She is really invested in our school. She is always looking for how she can help. It’s an honor to work with Lisa.”
Donald Harper is the voice of the Food and Nutrition Services Department. He helps parents resolve issues and walks parents through the process of signing up students for the free and reduced meal program. Emily Hanlin, executive director of food and nutrition services, praised him for his work with parents and any project he oversees.
The supervisors of Classified Employees of the Year were not the only ones who praised their work.
“Our Classified Employees of the Year represent the departments that make it possible for our teachers to do what they do in the classroom. I can’t thank them enough,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “There is no other industry that we can work in where we can impact the future of not just our community, but also our county, our state, and our nation. That is very important for us to remember. We are helping to shape the future.”
This is a list of all the Classified Employees of the Year who were honored at the 2018 celebration luncheon.