Teachers celebrate at annual breakfast

Teachers celebrate going back-to-school at annual breakfast

With the first day of school less than a week away for students at Lexington City Schools, teachers and other staff of the district gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new school year during a back-to-school breakfast at Charles England Elementary School on Tuesday morning.

Darrick Horton, chairman of the Lexington City Schools Board of Education, welcomed the teachers to the 2019-2020 school year. He said he is looking forward to seeing how the new initiatives and programs will succeed in the upcoming year.

“I am excited about the upcoming year and the initiatives that are in place,” Horton said. “We as a school board had to make some tough decisions that we believed were for the betterment of the district. I ask that you continue to rise to the occasion and be the excellent educators that our children need and deserve.”

During the breakfast, Sharolyn Harry-Clark of South Lexington School was named the Lexington City Schools principal of the year.

The assistant principal of the year award went to Holly Hinson at Lexington Senior High School.

Johnnie Mae Hollaway, guidance counselor at Lexington Middle School, won the first award given by the school system for guidance counselor of the year.

Christina Santiago, a third-grade teacher at Southwest Elementary, was named the beginning teacher of the year.

Fay Peebles, exceptional childrens teacher assistant at Pickett Elementary School, was named the teacher assistant of the year and Adrienne Staten, a fifth-grade teacher at Charles England Elementary School, was named the technology teacher of the year.

The classified team of the year went to the school system’s technology department.

Teri D’Amato, an eighth-grade math teacher at Lexington Middle School, was recognized as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year, which was given to her in a ceremony in May. She was also given the mentor of the year award at the teacher breakfast on Tuesday.

Dr. Anitra Wells, superintendent of Lexington City Schools, encouraged the teachers and staff to focus on the “big picture” when planning for the upcoming school year.

“We know that ultimately we are responsible for growing every child in Lexington City Schools regardless of race, ethnicity or economic status,” Wells said. “We have a responsibly to educate every child, every day in every classroom. That is the only way that we become the model school district I know we can become.”

She said that many of the students of Lexington City Schools have social, emotional or economic challenges, but it is the teachers who stand in that gap of a student succeeding academically so they are ready for the future.

“We have to help them develop a sense of hope,” Wells said. “That is why we are here today. They need to know that we believe in them and we are here for them. It is our responsibility to help them all realize their dreams.”

Wells also gave a brief overview of the 2019–2024 Lexington City Schools strategic plan. The new plan titled Rigorous Innovative Schools for Everyone, or RISE, focuses on improving academic outcomes for all students; increasing student and stakeholder involvement; increasing employee effectiveness and allocating resources equitably and strategically.

Wells said the overall objective for every employee of the Lexington City Schools system is to make sure students are provided with access to a quality education so they can ultimately achieve their goals.

“We are adjusting to the course that will take our students to their dream destinations,” Wells said. “Everything we do is, and will continue to, focus on maximizing opportunities and academic success for the students of Lexington City Schools. We have a tough job to do, but we will get it done.”

Sharon Myers/The Dispatch
Photo Credit Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch