By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton County School Board and Walton County School Superintendent Russell Hughes, as well as other supporting groups from Walton County along with friends, family and loved ones, came out the evening of Jan. 24, 2017 to recognize and celebrate Walton County educational professionals and support personnel.
The annual teacher and support professional awards were a little different this year and Hughes told the audience there will hopefully, if the stars align, be much bigger positive changes in store for next year’s participants.
Principals and administrators came up to the podium and spoke about the qualities of each recipient from their school or office as the awards were given out. “Selfless dedication,” “inspiring,” “can-do,” “above and beyond,” were just a few words and phrases used to describe the winners.
Hughes told the audience he hopes to help the community and local businesses become more vested in the awards and to help those so deserving to reap more benefits from their service.
Hughes hopes that next year’s teacher of the year will be allowed to take a sabbatical from their usual position and travel across the county helping and inspiring other teachers and sharing what helps and inspires them.
Local businesses are already in discussions to take part in next year’s program helping with everything from once-a-month yard service to a sponsored vehicle for the year to a vacation package to pamper those that have put others in front of themselves for so long. Hughes spoke excitedly about the future of the event and the future of the district and its employees.
After each individual award was given the Teacher of the Year and Educational Support Professional of the Year were announced. This year’s winners were: Teacher of the Year, Kathleen Redfern, from Mossy Head School, and Sue Brack as Educational Support Professional from the district offices.
Redfern also received a new prize – a $1,500 check from St. Joe Foundation Director Janet Greeno as part of her award.
With the support of the community and Hughes motivation and momentum, next year’s event has the possibility to be a great way to celebrate those that work and dedicate their life to teaching the next generation that will help enrich our county, our country, our world.
By ALICIA LEONARD