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Lincoln Center Award Winners Reflect Collective Efficacy!
By Stuart Phillips, CHCCS Communications Specialist
Collective Efficacy, a Strategic Plan Core Value, was on full display during the outdoor awards ceremony at Lincoln Center on Friday, April 21. Employees in Transportation, Operations, Information Technology and the Instructional Services, Equity and Engagement Division were celebrated with accolades, balloons and flowers, and lots of admiration and love from all of their assembled colleagues.
For most CHCCS parents and many school-based staff, the individuals who fill the offices, cubbies and work spaces in district-wide positions unfortunately remain largely invisible. But the grand old brick building on Merritt Mill Road and the warehouse behind it, as well as the Sheryl-Mar building and Transportation Depot, are true bee hives of activity from 6, 7 or 8:00 each morning until well after 5:00 on many days.
Here is an opportunity to “meet” a few of the invaluable employees and to learn about their roles in keeping CHCCS afloat!
Superintendent Dr. Nyah Hamlett welcomed staff by saying they were the “ultimate kickoff” to the annual awards season, and she expressed delight at seeing “so many beautiful faces on a beautiful spring day.”
Lincoln Center selected the following classified staff as honorees for the Mary Scroggs Award for Excellence in Providing Support Services Award. As part of this honor, they will be considered for the CHCCS Classified Staff of the Year award: Sharon Croom, Emily Garner, Sandra Pereira, Lay Po and Kelsie Tate.
The first honoree called up was Spanish Translator Sandra Pereira and Dr. Hamlett opened with these questions: “Did you know there are 75 languages spoken by the students in our district? Did you know that since its inception in January of 2020, our district translation ticketing system has processed over 19,000 requests for our interpretation services? Sandra Pereira is the person behind the scenes facilitating all of the translation requests, coordinating all of the interpretation assignments for four full time and multiple contract interpreters, as well as interpreting and translating many requests herself. For more than ten years, Sandra has been the face of interpretation services in our district. She works tirelessly to ensure that every student and every family has equitable access to important information in their dominant language. From IEP meetings, principals’ weekly announcements, joining me for the Neighborhood Walk and Talks and even Andy’s late night and early morning weather alerts, plus transportation alerts at 6 a.m., Sandra literally works around the clock to ensure ALL families in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools receive vital information regarding their children’s education.”
Next up was Chief Operations Officer, Dr. Andre’ Stewart, to recognize Buildings Foreman Kelsie Tate as part of the Capital and Facilities Department. “She’s the epitome of what we work for in Operations,” Stewart said. “She is one of the first female employees in trades, and the first female foreman.” He cited her hardworking dedication as a primary factor in her award. Tate covers a host of tasks throughout Lincoln Center and our schools, including construction of walls for office and classroom retrofits, installation of various wall-hung products like televisions, white boards and glass boards, as well as repairs to sheetrock, flooring and ceilings.
CHCCS Custodial Supervisor, Bobby Woodard, kept his remarks brief, and simply announced that his colleague is one of three finalists for the Mary Scroggs Classified Award for Excellence. “Everybody knows Mr. Lay Po,” he said. In fact, Custodian Lay Po’s impact is appreciated far beyond the halls, offices and flower beds of Lincoln Center. He helps set up and break down furniture for Board of Education meetings at the Southern Human Services Center, as well as helping with a variety of tasks in numerous locations. He is ubiquitous and always smiling, and it’s probably true that “everybody knows Mr. Lay Po”!
Director of Transportation Thaddeus Alston presented the award to Sharon Croom, assistant operations manager, as the Transportation Department’s honoree. “Since day one, I have been impressed by Ms. Croom's leadership and influencing skills. She possesses a strong determination to get things done. She works well with our leadership team, ensuring that the right people are placed in the right positions on the team to have the best opportunity to be successful. She has been very helpful to me as we continue to make positive strides in Transportation! She is committed to making sure Transportation operates as best we can, everyday.”
For Emily Garner, representing the Information Technology Department, Debby Atwater, executive director of technology, shared abundant and grateful accolades. “Emily is the nicest, kindest person! She is responsive and reliable,” Atwater said. “She follows up with you about your IT issues and never judges you for asking ‘stupid’ questions that you probably could have just Googled yourself. Emily is an asset to our IT Department. She cares about her coworkers and the people she serves. There is no task too big for Emily. If she doesn't know how to do something she is tenacious and will go and find out how to make it happen. Emily is a quick learner and takes tremendous pride in her work. She strives to make a difference. Our department and district are lucky to have her. Emily is simply everywhere and all things all at once. She is highly responsive and skilled while always having a smile on her face. She is very deserving of this award. In my opinion, Emily embodies all the characteristics of the ITD Employee of the year. She deserves this honor and recognition for her superior work.“
Dr. Hamlett returned to the presenter’s role to honor the Lincoln Center Administrative Employee of the Year, Director of Elementary Humanities, Tammie Eddins. “Ms. Eddins has done a phenomenal job in leading building administrators through Science of Reading professional development and creating and sharing resources to build instructional capacity,” Hamlett said. “She is always very encouraging and more than willing to jump in and support my school with instructional goals. She has even come on site to co-teach and model instructional best practices for staff. Ever need something or someone to help and they offer before you can even ask? Many in the district do. When HR was sending out reminders about the Career Fair, she asked what time she should show up to help setup and volunteer. When HR was looking for someone to go and recruit at a college that was a good distance away, she volunteered and was phenomenal. She is always willing to do what needs to be done to better our district.”
The event was hosted by the Talent and Recruitment team in Human Resources and was a joint effort with the Facilities Department. Coordinator of Professional Learning Danielle Sutton, who “captained” the celebration along with Senior Executive Director of Employee Recruitment, Learning and Retention Dr. Ashauna Harris, said “We wanted to make sure that all of the hard work that happens at Central Office is highlighted. The event is also a nice way to build community and camaraderie amongst everyone at Lincoln Center, Transportation and the Sheryl-Mar Building.”
CHCCS District Headlines stories are written on a regular basis by the CHCCS Division of Communications, with assistance from a network of school-based “storytellers” who share tips and ideas throughout the school year. The goal is to share real-world examples of the CHCCS Strategic Plan in action. Know about a story worth telling from your school? Contact the CHCCS Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.