GCS Employees Honored by Horace Mann
Twelve outstanding GCS employees have been selected for recognition in the Employee Spotlight Program presented by Horace Mann. The Employee Spotlight Program honors staff members who have made significant contributions or accomplishments on the job at Greenville County Schools. Recipients were nominated by fellow GCS employees. Horace Mann will provide either a pancake breakfast or ice cream social to each recipient’s school or department.
Brandon Beck is not only a phenomenal social studies teacher, but also a great role model. He began a Call Me Mister program at Bryson Middle School as a mentoring group for young men. He models and teaches students to be respectful and strive for excellence. Mr. Beck is always seeking ways to grow as a teacher, including presenting at the Middle School Conference, Upstate Technology Conference, and Summer Academy. He also sponsors the African American Quiz Bowl at his school.
Golden Strip Bus Center Supervisor Roni Brouillard is committed to providing the best possible service to students and families. She is responsible for route preparation for each regular education bus at the center, as well as the supervision of approximately 45 employees. Drivers at Golden Strip Bus Center say they cannot wait to get to work because Ms. Brouillard has instilled a sense of enthusiasm among drivers.
Brooke Childers started a school-wide Kindness Initiative Program where students and staff are encouraged to spread kindness, mindfulness, and selflessness. The school annually hosts a Great Kindness Challenge Week, and students in her classroom use the kindness platform to complete a project focused on initiating kindness in the community. The entire school climate has changed because of her efforts. Students have come together to help each other and their teachers and walls are decorated with words of encouragement.
Rick Floyd joined Greenville County Schools after serving in law enforcement for over 20 years. He and his colleagues present more than 250 Cyber Safe presentations annually in schools and the community. Students have attributed positive outcomes to his presentations, which focus on digital literacy in a highlight technological world where danger can be present in the latest app or on a social media site.
David Gray became a teacher after 28 years in textile marketing, and he tells everyone he is fulfilling his lifetime dream of teaching. He often uses art, cartoons, and stories to hook his students on history. His students leave his classroom knowing world history and its relevance in today’s world. Mr. Gray models how a truly great teacher takes on many roles above and beyond the classroom, serving as advisor to the Mock Trial Team and National Junior Honor Society. His classic trademark is wearing a different bowtie each day to school.
Ken Minton mentors young men to teach them manners, provide tutoring, teach them how to dress and prepare for interviews, and even provide guitar lessons – all without compensation. He organized a community carnival to increase parent involvement, and created a semi-formal dance to teach students appropriate conduct and manner of dress. Because of Mr. Minton’s efforts, the school has seen an improvement in student behavior and motivation.
Randy Morgan began work as part-time custodian while a student at Woodmont High. He was promoted to head custodian and later, plant engineer. During this time, he earned a degree from Southern Wesleyan University and is now a custodial specialist. Throughout his career, he has participated in school activities including the Woodmont High band program. He works until the job is done and has never turned down a request to work long hours in times of emergencies.
Director of West Greenville School Laura O’Laughlin has made a positive impact on students. She is constantly working to improve the school climate for students and staff. Her experience in the field of special education has been an asset as she advocates for students. She has added a student council, robotics club, and small engine repair club so students can learn skills that will prepare them for life after high school. Mrs. O’Laughlin has partnered with community members, mental health professionals, and the Department of Justice to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful.
Resource Teacher Kerry Quinn works with students from all grade levels, ensuring they have the skills they need to be successful in a regular education classroom. Her classroom is a safe place for students who need a few minutes to relax or calm down. Her door is always open for other teachers who are seeking advice on dealing with behavior issues. In addition to supporting teachers, she coaches the running club and choreographs the annual chorus production.
Parents at Welcome Elementary are especially happy to have Attendance Clerk Miriam Rios in the front office. She interprets for all of the school’s Hispanic families and helps with communication between parents and staff. She goes above and beyond, helping new families who do not speak English complete enrollment forms, making homework or testing accommodations, and calling parents when children are absent. Being a bilingual school, Ms. Rios breaks the language barrier by serving the school community with a pleasant and caring attitude.
Everything Marinda Smith does defines integrity. As Food Service Manager at Cherrydale Elementary, she mentors her peers and encourages them to seek opportunities for advancement. Cherrydale is unique in that the food service program provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner for students. The dinner program requires Ms. Smith to be flexible with her schedule and often work beyond her normal hours. When children pass through the lunch line, Ms. Smith and her staff quiz them on the Alphabet Letter of the Day or Word of the Day. She’s improved the staff morale by making them more engaged with students and their co-workers.
David Spearman is beloved by his students and the Drama Department staff at J. L. Mann High Academy. He spends his class time developing students in the acting profession, then spends countless hours after school and on the weekends working with students, overseeing rehearsals, and preparing for fall and spring performances. These events feature playbills with professional head shots of every student performer, ushers to escort patrons to their seats, professional lighting, and impressive costumes. Because of Mr. Spearman, more students want to enroll in the magnet program to be part of his class.