September 10, 2018
September Teachers of the Month Judy Paris and Victoria Pope were honored at the September 10 Wakulla County School Board Meeting.
“It is telling that teachers select who to honor from their faculties. The people who see the Teachers of the Month in action are the ones who know best what their peers are like day in and day out. These two ladies are to be commended for their hard work and passion for educating our students,” said Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
Shadeville Elementary’s Judy Paris is their September Teacher of the Month. A 5th grade math teacher, she is in her 19th year in education.
After teaching for 7 years in her home state of Louisiana, Paris moved to Wakulla County. “I started as a volunteer in my youngest son’s kindergarten class. When his teacher, Mrs. Kendrick, found out I was a certified teacher, she encouraged me to become a long term substitute for her daughter who would be out for months,” says Paris.
“I was a long term substitute for six years in Wakulla. I then decided to teach full time and was hired at Shadeville Elementary School in 2012.”
A Louisiana native, Paris earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University, and earned a post-baccalaureate degree from Louisiana State University.
Paris has a mission to help students gain confidence in their math skills, and thereby gain confidence in themselves.
“I often come across students at the beginning of the year who ‘hang their heads’ during math class and hate to be called on. For example, I had a young girl recently who lacked confidence in herself and was a loner. I was able to help her improve her math skills, which helped build her confidence.”
“By the end of the year, her Florida Standards Assessment state test scores improved from Level 1 to Level 4. More importantly, she gained self-confidence and, in turn, her ability to make friends. At the end of the year, I invite students to write kind notes about each of their classmates. This particular girl received the longest list of compliments from her peers.”
Paris is Shadeville’s 5th Grade Team Leader and co-chairs the Shadeville Spelling Bee. She also has been a committee member for Project Learning Tree and was on the School Advisory Council for several years.
Notes Shadeville Principal Nick Weaver, “Mrs. Paris has been a cornerstone of the 5th grade team. Her students consistently improve their math scores, and usually 90% or higher show proficiency in math by the end of the school year. She is a true asset to Shadeville Elementary and to the learning profession.”
Victoria Pope is Wakulla High School’s September Teacher of the Month. She is in her 4th year as the WHS Media Specialist and in her 12th year in education.
“I am a true product of our Wakulla County Schools,” Pope says. “I am honored to work and serve in the very school system that helped raise me. My aunt, Nancy Pope, worked for Wakulla schools for close to 30 years, and it is my desire, as part of her legacy, to make her proud.”
Pope attended Wakulla Pre-K, Crawfordville Elementary, Wakulla Middle, and graduated from Wakulla High. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education from FSU and a master’s degree in Information Science from the University of South Florida.
Previously, Pope taught English Language Arts in Tallahassee, Nassau County, and Jacksonville for a total of 8 years. “I have thoroughly enjoyed returning to my roots and being a WHS War Eagle again,” she states.
“When I tell people I am a high school Librarian Media Specialist, some assume I sit in silence and read all day, but anyone who has been to the WHS library knows that is far from the truth. I like to consider myself as the ‘Lively Librarian’ who creates an active and vibrant educational space, open and welcoming to all students and teachers.”
High-performing in both academics and sports when she attended WHS, Pope also has been an active part of WHS extra-curricular activities in her current job. She has coached JV Girls’ Soccer, Varsity Flag Football, been a sponsor of SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco), and is Department Head for Special Areas.
“My personal mission in life is to serve others and I am afforded that opportunity every day at WHS. I firmly believe building a strong rapport with students and teachers is vital to maximizing our school’s academic success,” Pope adds.
Observes WHS Principal Mike Barwick, “Ms. Pope has energized our Media Center. She has transformed a library into a resource center that not only benefits our students, but also our staff. She is a very important part of our school’s success and definitely contributes to WHS earning an ‘A’ grade from the Florida Department of Education.”