AP NEWS

Highlawn Elementary teacher, assistant win employee awards

May 4, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Two Highlawn Elementary School employees were awarded for their service Friday evening at Cabell County Schools’ annual Teacher and School Service Employee of the Year ceremony in the Huntington Middle School auditorium.

T.C. Clemons, a fourth-grade teacher, was named Teacher of the Year, and Lionel Hope, an elementary classroom assistant teacher, was named School Service Employee of the Year.

The two were among 21 nominees and five finalists in each category for the awards. The teacher nominees had a combined 353 years of experience, and the service employee nominees held 225 years between them.

Clemons has been a teacher with Cabell County Schools since 1981. Clemons said she was inspired to be a teacher when she met someone in her high school class who could not read. She also said she was diagnosed with breast cancer and refused her doctor’s orders to take time off work because there were children who needed her.

“It’s not my job. It’s my calling,” she said during an acceptance speech at the awards.

Tim Hardesty, assistant superintendent of district support and employee relations, said service personnel are just as important for the teachers - these people include bus drivers, cooks, secretaries and aides.

“While they’re not delivering instruction directly ... it would be nearly impossible for the teachers to do their work daily without the service personnel,” Hardesty said.

Hope is one of those individuals. He said his greatest joy going to work every day is just being able to make the kids smile.

Each of the 42 nominees and 10 finalists were individually recognized at the awards ceremony. Each finalist was approached by the “Cabell County Prize Patrol,” which consisted of Cabell County school officials including Superintendent Ryan Saxe. The Prize Patrol surprised each finalist with balloons in their school to announce they had been chosen as finalists.

The other four finalists for Teacher of the Year were Bonnie Conner of Milton Middle School, Kim Cremeans of Village of Barboursville Elementary, Matthew Hicks of Salt Rock Elementary and Tim James of Cabell Midland High School.

The other four finalists for Service Employee of the Year were Pat Hall of Salt Rock Elementary, Carol Miles of Village of Barboursville Elementary, Amy Sacre of Cabell County Career Technology Center and Katie Young of the Cabell County Schools central office.

Hardesty said district officials try to make the awards as special as possible so the teachers and service personnel know just how much they are appreciated.

“It’s an opportunity for us to recognize those teachers and service personnel who dedicate their lives to our kids in our school district,” Hardesty said.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook@megosborneHD.