March 11, 2019
Wakulla County School Board honored March’s Teachers and Employees of the Month at the March 11 School Board Meeting.
“These four employees show their dedication every day. Every age child they work with from Pre-K through middle school, plus supervisors, colleagues, and parents, are fortunate to have them in their lives,” says Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
Riversprings Middle School math instructor David McBrayer was selected by his peers as March Teacher of the Month.
“Mr. Mac”, as he is affectionately called by students and faculty alike, is in his 14th year at RMS. Prior to being hired in Wakulla, he taught math for two years in Leon County.
McBrayer has taught Advanced Math in grades 6 through 8, and currently teaches 8th grade Algebra 1 for high school credit, plus 8th grade Pre-Algebra.
A graduate of Sneads High School, McBrayer went on to earn his AA degree at Chipola Junior College and his bachelor’s degree in Math Education from FSU.
“It’s the ‘ah-ha’ moments that put a smile on my face,” he notes. “I love when I can get my students involved with a lesson and watch them want to learn more. I enjoy seeing them be so proud of a grade they earned that they assumed was impossible for them.”
As part of the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) Site Team since 2008, McBrayer was integral in RMS becoming an AVID National Demonstration School. He shares, “On a site visit from an AVID Regional Representative, I was pulled to the side. The rep said, ‘This is off topic, but we are interested in you working for us teaching AVID skills to other teachers.’ I never gave an answer, which really meant I am happy teaching at RMS.”
Notes RMS Principal Michele Yeomans, “Mr. Mac brings humor and passion for teaching to the classroom each and every day. He is a team player and will do anything asked of him, from coaching girls’ soccer for 13 years, to currently being a Teacher Coach who mentors other teachers.
“In addition, he has an exceptional pass rate for students who take the state’s Algebra 1 exam to earn high school credit. We are fortunate to have him as an RMS Bear.”
Crawfordville Elementary School chose 4th grade instructor Heather Hatfield as their March Teacher of the Month. She is in her 15th year of teaching elementary-aged children in grades three through five.
A product of Wakulla County schools, Hatfield attended Sopchoppy Elementary School, Wakulla Middle School, and graduated from Wakulla High School. She earned an AA degree from TCC and a bachelor’s degree from Flagler College.
“When I go to school every day, I don’t feel like I’m going to a job,” Hatfield says. “When my students walk through the door in the morning they are so excited to be here. I enjoy the conversations we have and watching them grow throughout the year.”
When teaching can seem difficult as well as rewarding, she reminds herself of a past student: “He actually wanted to work for me to the point of taking the initiative to work on things at home. His mother thanked me for not only helping her son believe in himself, but also for helping her realize that she wanted to learn also and she decided to go back to school. This is a memory I will forever be grateful for, knowing that by doing my ‘job’ I touched the life of another.”
In addition to teaching, Hatfield has coached the CES Odyssey of the Mind team for three years, been the Technology Chair on the School Advisory Council for 11 years, and is in her first year as a Teacher Coach for new teachers.
“One thing that really sticks out about her class is the joy her students have while learning. When you visit her classroom, be prepared to have students telling you about their work, from how close they are to an AR (Accelerated Reader) goal to showing you a diorama they created,” says CES Principal Louis Hernandez. “Heather is a tremendous asset to the CES Cougar Team.”
Susan Kilgore is the March Employee of the Month from WEC (Wakulla Education Center) Pre-Kindergarten. She has spent over 20 years working with the youngest students in Wakulla County.
While many of the WEC staff have Florida CDA (Child Development Associate) credentials, Kilgore is one of three WEC employees who holds a national CDA certificate.
“The most enjoyable part of my job is when I see the expressions on the children’s faces when they experience something new or how excited they get when the light bulb goes on – they got it! Not to mention the funny things they say and do on a regular basis. Never a dull moment at Pre-K,” laughs Kilgore.
About her job teaching Wakulla’s youngest students, Kilgore adds, “It is hard to express how it makes me feel when a former student recognizes me and comes up to me remembering things I did with them in their Pre-K classroom. We’re talking about 3 and 4 year-olds. Just to know that I made that kind of impression is priceless.”
In addition to teaching, Kilgore is the Chair and organizer of the Fall and Spring WEC Book Fairs, Co-chair of WEC’s Project Learning Tree, and has been a volunteer and organizer for the Pre-K Library for over 20 years.
“I first met Susan Kilgore 31 years ago when her oldest son was in my kindergarten class at Shadeville Elementary during my first year of teaching. She was such a supportive and actively involved parent,” says WEC Principal Laura Kelley.
“Susan enjoys the day to day interaction with her students, colleagues, and parents. She is a nature lover and transforms the outdoors into a place of exploration, inquiry, investigation and learning.
“Her daily quest is to find the humor in the words and actions of her Pre-K students. She is dependable, loyal, and a team player that I am proud to claim as a member of the Pre-K Eaglet family,” adds Kelley.
Riversprings Middle School Employee of the Month for March is Data Entry Clerk Samantha Jacobs. She is in her third year at RMS as the first person parents see when bringing their children to school.
Originally from Chipley, Jacobs moved to Crawfordville at age 7 and attended Crawfordville Elementary School, Wakulla Middle School, and graduated from Wakulla High School.
Prior to working at RMS, Jacobs was a substitute teacher in Wakulla for two years. Before that, she spent 10 years at home raising her own four children.
“For years, I had served as a volunteer in the Wakulla County school system and worked as a substitute teacher,” says Jacobs. “When I heard about the Data Entry position, I thought what a wonderful opportunity it would be to continue serving in the school system while allowing me to still be at home with my children after the school day was over.”
She adds, “What I really like most about my job is the interaction with RMS students, parents, faculty and staff. I also love the sense of family at Riversprings. As a mother of four, it is important to me that I am able to participate in special events that my children have going on. At Riversprings, I am encouraged to do so.”
Jacobs also has not given up her work as a volunteer now that she has a full-time position. For example, on her own time she has taken photos of the RMS Wrestling Team in action for the past two years.
“Mrs. Jacobs is a fantastic employee and member of the RMS Bear family,” notes RMS Principal Michele Yeomans. “Every face that walks into our Student Services Department is greeted with a smile and treated with respect. She is willing to help out anywhere, and works very hard to be the best at her job.”