January 22, 2019
Wakulla County School Board honored January’s Teachers and Employee of the Month at the January 22 School Board Meeting.
Says Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “These three employees are recognized as outstanding by their peers. The common theme is that all three take their jobs seriously, but know how to connect with students and staff through humor, caring, and a sincere interest in how others are doing. They all give so much, and yet they insist that they are the ones who get so much in return.”
January Teacher of the Month from Shadeville Elementary School is 2nd grade teacher Kimberly Morgan. She is in her third year at Shadeville, after teaching 6th grade her first year in a neighboring county.
Morgan’s pathway to teaching was unique: “After working in the pharmacological field for 21 years, I decided to go back to school. Throughout this time I was teaching Sunday School at my church. That time spent with children, coupled with heartfelt prayer, gave me the answer I was looking for,” she says. “It became clear that my purpose was to make a difference in the lives of as many students as I could through the art of teaching.”
She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Flagler College and is certified in Elementary Education, Exceptional Student Education, and holds endorsements in both Reading and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).
Her perspective is that teaching puts her in the position to influence her students in a positive way. She notes, “I can guide them to use their imaginations and to help them understand that learning never stops, even when they get as ‘old’ as I am.”
“I feel my experiences growing up have helped me to better understand the hardships and heartaches that a lot of our children go through. I want my students to know that they can trust me and that I love them. At the end of the day, it’s all for the love of the children.”
Morgan interned in Wakulla County, and substituted there while no full-time teaching jobs were open. She took a teaching position at Woodville Middle Charter School when her supervising teacher from Wakulla called her three weeks into a new school year and urged her to apply for a newly opened teaching position.
Says Morgan, “I was truly excited and sad at the same time. I had already established a good rapport with my students, as well as being the Cross Country coach. I did not take the Wakulla position that year. I assume the Shadeville principal remembered, and appreciated that kind of dedication, for at the end of that school year, another Shadeville position came open for the following school year. I knew in my heart I wanted to get back to Wakulla.”
Her involvement at SES in addition to teaching includes being a Kagan Structures Coach to the faculty, and as a member of the Science Committee, Project Learning Tree Committee, and BPIE (Best Practices for Inclusive Education) Committee.
Shadeville Principal Nick Weaver adds, “Mrs. Morgan sports a vibrant smile and puts a positive light on all situations. She is a bright light for her students and the adults that she impacts. Her bubbly personality, enthusiasm, and commitment to the education profession make her an asset to any faculty and Shadeville is beyond thankful to have her on board.”
Wakulla High School’s January Teacher of the Month is Hunter Tucker. A Wakulla native, she attended Crawfordville Elementary, Wakulla Middle School, and graduated from Wakulla High School.
Tucker earned a bachelor’s degree from FAMU in Business Education and worked in Tallahassee waiting for a teaching position to open up in her field. She says, “When Riversprings Middle School opened in 2000, I was hired as the Technology teacher, Volleyball coach, and Assistant Softball coach. I transferred to Wakulla High two years later and have been here for almost 16 years.”
In the Career and Technical Department at WHS, Tucker teaches Digital Information Technology; Digital Design 2 and 3; and Yearbook. Notes WHS Principal Mike Barwick, “Not only is she an outstanding teacher, but also the work she does every year to craft our school’s yearbook is irreplaceable. She takes great pride to ensure our students get a first class yearbook.”
Tucker has been The Eagle’s Crest Yearbook teacher for 15 years, a job with a host of moving parts, including securing ads to help finance each edition.
Principal Barwick adds, “In addition, she supports our seniors by being an exceptional Senior Class Sponsor.” This includes such events as organizing the Senior Trip, Graduation, and a host of activities all year long, including election of Senior officers.
She also is in her 8th year as the WHS Assistant Girls Weightlifting coach. As a WHS student, Tucker was an outstanding athlete and now enjoys working with students outside of the classroom as well as in it.
Her many-faceted job lets her work with students in several capacities, even taking their advice and support when she participates in activities like the Teacher vs. Students Relay Race during Homecoming Week.
Concludes Principal Barwick, “She truly cares about our kids and this school. It is teachers like her that make Wakulla High School a special place to work.”
Employee of the Month for January is Manuellena Randolph-Smith from WCSB Facilities and Maintenance. She is in her 7th year at Wakulla Middle School, where she is beloved by adults and students alike.
A Shadeville Elementary School and Wakulla High School graduate, Randolph-Smith says, “I grew up in Shadeville and have remained in Wakulla County all my life. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a dedicated sister and church member.”
It is important to her to “maintain a good working environment by having a cooperative relationship with the faculty and staff. A smile costs nothing but gives you so much. It takes but a moment, but the positive feeling lasts forever.”
Randolph-Smith also keeps her sense of humor and helps others around her laugh to make each day a positive one. She adds, “My most amusing thing on this job is watching Mr. Shiver or Pastor James on that zero-turn mower!”
She turns more serious when describing her work at WMS: “My dedication is to be here each day and be on time, to give, and to do the most efficient job that I’m capable of doing.”
Says her supervisor at WMS, Mr. Larry Shiver, “Ms. Anne is a great employee who deserves the honor of Employee of the Month. She is a hard worker and always has a smile on her face. Everyone loves her including the faculty, staff and the students.”
He adds, “I have never seen anyone who can take one look at a person and know that something is wrong. She always asks if you are ok, what she can do to help, and then tells you that she will pray for you. She is truly a kind and generous person.”
WMS Principal Tolar Griffin agrees, noting, “Mrs. Randolph-Smith adds to making the school environment a positive place. She shows us all that you can perform your tasks well, but the heart of what we do is caring for each other. I am proud of her for earning this recognition.”