“Simply the best!” Although that praise was directed at one employee, it sums up how principals, teachers and families would describe each of Cobb County School District’s top classified employees.
Every year, district leaders, board members and other members of the school community come together to recognize the Classified Employees of the Year (CEOTY). The honored guests come from schools and departments across the district. This year, the recognition ceremony took place Sept. 12 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
“Supporting our parents, answering phones, driving buses, feeding students, keeping our schools safe and clean — it’s impossible to teach well if these things aren’t happening,” said John Floresta, the district’s chief strategy and accountability officer. “The superintendent has made teachers and those who support teachers a priority. Today is one small way to thank the half of our team who support teachers.”
The CEOTY luncheon included a surprise for four of the honorees, who were named the Elementary School, Middle School, High School and Central Office Level winners.
The Middle School Level winner, Kim Ferguson, loves her job. The clerk at Pine Mountain Middle School in Kennesaw enjoys working with her teammates and the students every day.
“Whether Kim is working with a parent who may be upset coming into the front office or trying to help a substitute come into the school and get to the class they need to be at or helping a teacher make copies, Kim is all about taking things to the next level,” Pine Mountain Principal David Nelson said. “It is an honor to have her at Pine Mountain Middle School.”
The High School Level winner, custodian Jerome King, must love his job. He drives almost two hours to work at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, and his colleagues are so grateful for that because he brightens their day.
“His smile is infectious,” Principal Ashlynn Campbell said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of day I am having. When I see Jerome, he always says, in his Jamaican accent, ‘How do you do, my dear?’ and I can’t help but smile. He is always so joyful.”
Campbell said she asked a few co-workers about King, “and the common theme is that he is just a great guy and willing to do whatever is asked of him.”
“He loves to work, and no task is too small,” she said. “He truly exemplifies One Team. One Goal. Student Success. Jerome is also known for being generous. He loves to cook Jamaican recipes and, on occasion, he will cook for our custodial team. He always finds a way to brighten your day.”
Zoila Hill, a parent facilitator at Argyle Elementary in Smyrna, was the Elementary School Level winner, and Maria Barnette, a secretary in the Academic Division, won for the Central Office Level.