The January Employee of the Month is Marla Morris, Shadeville Elementary School Food Service Worker. Morris has served and prepared breakfast and lunch for the Shadeville students since 2008. She began as a substitute food service worker and was quickly hired as a full-time employee.
Originally from Arkansas, Morris shares that “seeing the smiles on the faces of the students,” as the most enjoyable part of her job. She has been an active member of the School Nutrition Association for six years.
Food Service Manager Patricia Baker states, “It did not take long for me to realize Marla was a hard worker. She arrives at work each day with a positive, get the job done attitude. She is pleasant when communicating with the students and works collaboratively with her colleagues. She is a team player. I am happy to have her as a member of my staff.”
Gail Mathers, Food Service Director, notes, “Marla’s quiet demeanor and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done is indicative of her outstanding work ethic. Not only does Marla complete the tasks assigned to her but she takes the initiative to assist in other areas where there is a need. She is an instrumental part of the daily operation in the kitchen and goes beyond the norm to make children happy.”
February Teacher of the Month is Medart Elementary School first grade teacher, Susan Tillman. Tillman has been teaching at Medart for more than a decade following a career as a customer service manager with the Peddie Chemical Company.
Encouraged by her sister, Ginger, Tillman pursued a career in education. With the support of her sister and the administration of Medart, Tillman completed the State qualifications for a Professional Teaching Certificate. With a BS degree from FSU and state test requirements, Tillman met the State obligations in short order. Tillman notes, “Teaching is a great job because every day I can fell successful. I hope that the most important lesson they learn is to understand their potential, to think for themselves and become self-aware.”
Tillman also serves as the School Advisory Council co-chair, the Leader in Me Lighthouse Team member and the Odyssey of the Mind coach. “Working with children is daily inspiration in itself. Not only I am inspired by them but also by the fresh ideas and excitement of other teachers as well.”
Medart Principal Kimberly Dutton shares, “Mrs. Tillman is a wonderful choice as teacher of the month. Mrs. Tillman demonstrates school leadership. She inspires students with her creative energy as an Odyssey of the Mind coach. She works to build a positive rapport and strong communication with the parents of her students. Using multiple paths to learning, Tillman is able to reach differing needs of the children in her inclusion classroom. She models patience and kindness. In return, her students love and respect her.”
Wakulla Middle School veteran teacher, Lucile Graham, is also recognized as a February Teacher of the Month. Prior to becoming a WMS Wildcat, Graham taught at Wakulla High School as well as Carrabelle School.
Graham spent her formative years in West Virginia and Virginia, graduating from Tulane University with a BA degree and FSU with an MA degree. Graham is quick to give credit to her colleagues, stating, “I work with a whole district full of interesting, supportive people. WMS is a cohesive campus and I know that whatever I need, be it advice, ideas, a shoulder or inspiration, it will be there when I need it. I am constantly amazed by the wealth of talents and interests in our schools.”
Working with the students is a highlight for Graham as well. She adds, “I enjoy the small triumphs my students have. I get a kick out of developing kids, their brains, attitudes, interests, point of view of the work and self-concepts. All of these parts are still so malleable in 7th grade and most are unabashed in expressing themselves. The process of teaching middle school is full of joy and laughter.”
WMS Principal Rick Myhre shares, “Over the years Mrs. Graham has proven to be one of the most successful teachers ever at WMS. The high level of consistency she has been able to maintain is truly impressive and thousands of students have benefited from her amazing instructional abilities. There is no doubt she has been a blessing to our school and our community as a whole. Even during the most challenging of times she places the mission first and she understands that the best way to reach her class is to put on a smile and remain positive. She has been and still remains a friend and mentor to countless teachers, including myself. She is most deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to recognize her as our teacher of the month.”