Lexington teachers celebrate new school year

Lexington teachers celebrate new school year

Teachers, staff, school board members and other support personnel celebrated the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year with the Lexington City Schools Welcome Back Breakfast on Tuesday.

Darrick Horton, chairman of Lexington City Schools Board of Education, thanked everyone for coming to the annual event at Charles England Elementary School.

“Thank you for all your hard work. We appreciate everything that you do,” Horton said. “I hope that you are as excited as we are about the upcoming school year. We have spectacular things happening at Lexington City Schools.”

Dr. Anitra Wells, the newly named superintendent of Lexington City Schools, said she was excited about the motivation and competition shown by staff during the breakfast. She said that she wants the teachers and staff to know she is there to work and to support them.

“I will forever keep it real; I will always be open and transparent in everything we do,” Wells said. “I will appreciate and thank you for what you do, and there will be times when you will see me in classrooms, in school buildings or with maintenance staff rolling up my sleeves to help get any job done.”

The principal of the year award was given to Sean Gaillard of Lexington Middle School. The principal of the year award is voted on by the principals, staff and the district administrative team. Lexington Middle School was also chosen as the school of the year.

Gaillard was recognized for creating programs to support students and staff, such as the “Celebrate Monday” program, his leadership which has decreased the staff turnover rate, and community involvement which culminated in a new staff kitchen donated to the school.

Gaillard said he was shocked to receive the award because he has always felt like his success was a team effort. He said he gives thanks every day to God, his family and for his staff.

“I am speechless,” Gaillard said. “It is not about me, it is about (the teachers) and the 754 students that we serve and support every day. … There are so many folks in this room that have embraced me, the guy who spent so much time in the (office) in sixth, seventh and eighth grade that I was offered an early internship as a principal.”

He said that he believes teachers have the ability to make a powerful impact on students and should appreciate that what they do is important.

“One word can make a difference,” Gaillard said. “We don’t know the power that we have, the positivity we can bring. We can make a difference. It is a hard job that we have; it is a great job we have. It is a noble profession and you are all heroes.”

The two teachers of the year, who were chosen in May, were also recognized. Sha Mosley, a third-grade teacher at Southwest Elementary School, and Arthur Johnson, AP history, government and politics and AP geography teacher at Lexington Senior High School, were chosen as the 2017-2018 teachers of the year.

Other awards were given to individual teachers, assistant teachers, mentors and support staff.

Beginning teachers of the year who were recognized included Courtney Foster, a first-year teacher at Southwest Lexington; Shanice Brice, a second-year teacher at Pickett Elementary; and Casey Hudgins, a third-year teacher at Lexington Senior High School.

Rachel Horttor, AP and honors English teacher at Lexington Senior High School was named the mentor of the year.

Technology teacher of the year was awarded to Josie DeLap, second-grade teacher at Southwest Elementary. Teacher’s assistant of the year was given to Faith Peebles of Pickett Elementary School. The classified team of the year was given to the office support staff.

Wells said she plans on beginning her tenure as superintendent with a listening and learning tour to learn about what is working in the schools and what needs improvement. She said she wants to focus on maximizing individual potential by challenging all students to improve, not just the lowest-performing students, to provide a safe and caring learning environment and to hold everyone in the system, including students, accountable for their own success.

“I want to learn the good, bad and the ugly about Lexington City Schools,” Wells said. “There are traditions we want to keep and revitalize, and any ineffective things that we do need to be refined or eliminated. … I look forward to working with each of you as we make this a great year.”

back to school breakfastNew LCS Superintendent Dr. Anitra Wells receives a warm welcome during the Welcome Back Breakfast.

Sharon Myers can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 228, or at sharon.myers@the-dispatch.com. Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM

Photo credits: Donnie Roberts/ The Dispatch