Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020
Horace Mann Honors 10 Outstanding Employees
Ten outstanding GCS employees have been selected for recognition in the Employee Spotlight Program presented by Horace Mann. The Employee Spotlight Program, in its third year, honors staff members who have made significant workplace contributions or accomplishments at Greenville County Schools. Recipients were nominated by fellow GCS employees, who provided information about the employee and his or her work ethic. Horace Mann provides each honoree with an award and the choice of a pancake breakfast or ice cream social for the recipient’s school or department.
Robert Anderson, Astronomy Teacher
J. L. Mann High Academy
Mr. Anderson’s efforts have greatly improved the astronomy curriculum at J.L. Mann Academy. He brings science to life with real-world applications, such as making rockets and setting up a telescope for the entire school to view the eclipse. The school has an active after-school club where students are able to explore the world of astronomy for possible future careers. Mr. Anderson has been recognized as one of 30 teachers nationally to be part of the NASA/IPSC teacher research program.
Chivonne Fuller, Custodian
Greenville Middle Academy
Ms. Fuller is a role model for everyone at Greenville Middle Academy, demonstrating professionalism, kindness, diligence, and dedication. She earns the highest inspections on her daily work, and even parents comment positively when they see Ms. Fuller cheering for the basketball team during the games. Recently, Ms. Fuller was unable to come to work due to flooding in her home. Yet later that afternoon she showed up at work to help colleagues pull trash and get ready for the next school day.
Tara Gunter, Special Education Teacher
Greenbrier Elementary School
After teaching Resource for her entire career, Tara Gunter was asked to become a multi-categorical teacher at Greenbrier. She has gone above and beyond to learn about each student’s disability and how she can help them. Students who previously sat in the corner are now eating at a table, reading, working independently, and learning through play.
Alison Horton, Esthetics Teacher
J. Harley Bonds Career Center
The Esthetics Program at J. Harley Bonds Career Center is more successful due to Alison Horton’s efforts. She brought the passage rate in the program from 30 percent to 100 percent, meaning all of her students passed the state licensing exam. She achieved this by helping students after school and during summer break, ensuring they had the opportunity to take the test.
Sloan Joseph, Instructional Technology Coach
Greer Middle School
Not only is Sloan Joseph a great teacher, she is also funny, motivational, inspiring, and a great mentor. She can often be seen in the hallways during class change to touch base with students and provide encouragement. She is co-organizer of Ed Camp Greenville and serves as a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate. Students and teachers at Greer Middle are more technologically literate because of the professional development she offers regarding Chromebooks.
Julia McKissick, School Counselor
Lake Forest Elementary School
School counselor Julia McKissick has helped to create a culture of positivity and inclusiveness at Lake Forest Elementary. She has a daily check-in system where identified students place a sticky note on her door to identify how they are feeling. Her day includes classroom visits, group, and individual lessons. She is a teacher leader in providing professional development on social and emotional learning, and gives bus riders choices such as high fives and fist bumps for goodbyes at the end of the day.
Michelle Merck, Secretary Bookkeeper
Hughes Middle Academy
Michelle Merck operates with integrity, patience, and kindness in all that she does. As bookkeeper and secretary, she is the expert on school finances, successfully completing audits with zero errors. It is her care and attention to detail that allow Hughes Academy to remain financially stable and add programs, resources, and opportunities for students.
Laurie Schmotzer, 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Rudolph Gordon School
Rudolph Gordon students are becoming more empathetic because of purposeful and meaningful efforts in Laurie Schmotzer’s classroom. Her students build cardboard shelters to foster an understanding of living conditions of the homeless. She transforms her classroom into outer space or a jungle safari to reinforce lessons. She links her students with elementary students for Book Buddies, and she is also the advisor for the school’s Beta Club.
Julie Smith, Training Manager, Cherrydale Elementary
Food and Nutrition Services
As Training Manager at Cherrydale Elementary, Julie Smith offers services that go above and beyond. In addition to lunch, Cherrydale offers breakfast in the classroom to ensure that students in this high-poverty school eat breakfast every day. Her cafeteria prepares breakfast and lunch meals that are transported to two satellite locations that serve an additional 100 students daily, and Cherrydale is the only school in the district to offer a supper program. She is a shining example of thinking outside the box.
Kayla Trotter, ISS Coordinator
Ralph Chandler Middle School
Although Kayla Trotter’s title is ISS Coordinator at Ralph Chandler Middle School, she takes on many additional projects to assist students. She implemented the school’s food pantry that includes a backpack program to ensure students have food on the weekends, is an active member of the school’s SIC, handles the Giving Tree initiative, and executes the student ID program. She takes these projects on in addition to her daily duties of housing students in ISS, covering classes, filling in at the front desk, and covering morning and afternoon duties.