Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019

American Education Week - November 18-22

Friday - District Staff

Rick Floyd, Information Security
Rick Floyd works in Information Security for Greenville County Schools. Floyd and his co-workers are responsible for the integrity of the district’s network, investigating the misuse of electronics and doing presentation on internet safety. Floyd says his previous career in law enforcement helps him educate students and parents about the dangers of online communication with strangers. Floyd hosts seminars on apps like TikTok and Snapchat. He says, “I hear comments after presentations like I’m deleting this app or I’m not doing that again, that in itself is inspiring because it lets me know kids are listening. I’m there to help our students, I want them to feel that caring.”


Levetta Williams, Human Resources
Levetta Williams is the manager for all of the Human Resources operations staff, including bus drivers, transportation, and operations and maintenance staff. She is dedicated to the district’s mission of Building Better Graduates by providing special needs students with opportunities to build workplace skills before they leave GCS. #gcsinspire


Tiffany Whitney, Social Worker
As the Pregnant and Parenting Specialist for GCS, Tiffany Whitney makes sure that students and families are connected with community resources that will help them thrive. She and her team believe all roads lead to graduation. Through home visits and one-on-one interactions, Tiffany coaches students to become advocates for themselves and to lead healthy lives. #gcsinspire


Thursday - Operations/Maintenance

Kevin Gregory, Chandler Creek Elementary
An "enthusiastic, creative challenge" is how Kevin Gregory likes to describe his job! Life has brought Mr. Gregory full circle. Having attended middle school in the very same building that is now Chandler Creek Elementary, he has developed a deep sense of responsibility and connection with the school and takes special pride in making sure everything in the building is, "safe and up to working order for GCS." #gcsinspire


Elaine Sterling, Custodian, Central Office
When you enter the Central Office, you’ll probably see the smiling face of Elaine Sterling. Elaine takes her role as custodian seriously, always willing to serve others and making the building look its best. Her pleasant nature and positive attitude ensure that employees and visitors at the Central Office have a great day! #gcsinspire


Wednesday – Educators

Jackie Parker, Principal of Rudolph Gordon School
Jackie Parker is celebrating her 40th year in Education - all with Greenville County Schools! She is the principal at Rudolph Gordon School. Jackie is inspired by the students, "Seeing the excitement on their faces as they learn and as they accomplish things is what inspires me to be in education every day!" Jackie is a tireless advocate for her students and for the faculty and staff at her school, working to ensure that they have what they need to succeed! #gcsinspire


Chrissy Respass is the STEAM lab instructor at Lake Forest Elementary. Respass is known for her compassion for students and willingness to go above and beyond. When her principal mentioned she’d like to install a “sensory path” in the school hallway, Respess went to work designing, printing and installing the artwork that encourages students to hop, jump, crab crawl or do yoga poses. Recently, during afternoon bus duty, Respass encountered a new student who was anxious about riding home. Respass recalls saying, “Hey, can I ride the bus with you? He thought that was okay. He got on the bus. We counted every stop. It was real for him. It made me happy to know I could help him overcome something. The thing that entered my mind that day was if that was my child how would I want someone to respond? I don’t think about what I’m doing, it comes as a motherly instinct, I feel so much of what they feel,” she says.


Cameron Brice, A.J. Whittenberg Elementary
Growing up in a family of teachers, education has been a top priority for Cameron Brice, administrative assistant at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary. As a child, he saw very few African-American male teachers, so it’s important to him to be a role model for his students and instill a love of learning in them. #gcsinspire


Susan McCoy, GCS Teacher of the Year
Tanglewood Middle School's Susan McCoy is this year's GCS Teacher of the Year, but she doesn't teach for the accolades. "Every day I come to school and there's always some kids who just want to learn, and do the right thing, and give you so much hope in education, and that is my WHY...the kids that make every day amazing!"

One such student is Jayvontaye Savoy. Ms. McCoy was quick to shift the spotlight to this "amazing young man...my hero and my inspiration." They recently jumped into action to help a student that was choking in the cafeteria. #gcsinspire


Ray Steadman, Social Studies, Eastside High
In addition to teaching social studies, Ray Steadman is the Beta Club and Quiz Bowl advisor at Eastside High. One of his students, Robbie Pokora, confided to Steadman that his father needed a kidney. When Steadman realized that he and Robbie’s father had the same blood type, he knew God was telling him what to do. The transplant was done on August 14, 2019 and Steadman returned to his classroom six weeks later. #gcsinspire


Tuesday – Transportation Staff

Ed Cody is a Navy veteran and former firefighter who has been a bus driver for Greenville County Schools for the past four years. In the spring of 2019 Ed used his first responders training to save a co-worker who was choking. Cody says it’s the relationships he has with his co-workers and his bus riders that keep him coming to work. “Every day is a new day and I love the challenge,” he says. “To see your friend like that really takes a lot out of you, I believe God had me in the right place at the right time. You are trained but you never know when you are going to use it.”


Theresa Patterson has been a special needs bus driver for over 30 years. She started driving so she could transport her own special needs son, but stays because she loves what she does and the children she transports. She says, “I have five routes a day, morning, afternoon and midday. Midday we have our preschoolers, I have to say those are my favorites, they are the sunshine and the light of your day. I never get tired of it I never get bored with it because you never know what they’re  going to say or what they’re  going to do.” Patterson says she is inspired when she feels needed by the students. “The day I don’t feel I am needed anymore will be the day that I hang up my keys for the last time. Until then I just want to keep rolling and picking my babies up,” she said.


Carlos Pozo and his aide Linda Brown were out on their morning route when they noticed a child riding his bike haphazardly in the middle of the road. Both had watched the news before their shift and recognized the boy as a missing child. They carefully followed behind him while radioing for help. Together they convinced the child to stop fleeing and board their bus for safety. Our School Board of Trustees recognized them as "Miracle Workers.” Carlos says, “We make a good team, we have good communication, I’m glad Linda is with me.”


Margaret Register has been in education for 29 years. She doesn't see challenges, only opportunities. While working afternoon bus duty at Lakeview Middle School this year Register decided students were waiting too long for a ride home so she decided to pick up a bus route and drive them home herself. “I believe that there is always a way as long as you work and try to find it. I believe in helping kids, any child whether they are in my class or not, I believe in helping everybody. I’m here if they need me, I’m on the bus if they need me,” she says. Registers students are now getting home 60 to 90 minutes sooner. “It is what you make it. If I choose it to be a challenge it is going to be a challenge but I don’t choose it like that. I choose it as an act of love and joy.”


Monday – School Support Staff

Annette Duncan, Graduation Coach, Woodmont High

We are kicking off American Education Week to celebrate our outstanding employees! Today our focus is on School Support Staff. Annette Duncan believes in every student, every day at Woodmont High. As graduation coach, she gives support to students to ensure they are on track to graduate. Since coming to Woodmont High, the school’s graduation rate has increased almost 20%, from 68.3% to 87.9%. She is truly an inspiring coach who is Building Better Graduates at Woodmont High! #gcsinspire


Julio Davila-Gonzalez, Office Clerk, Berea Elementary

Julio Davila-Gonzalez is a college student, elementary school office clerk and part time barber. Julio is studying Human Resources at USC Upstate. “Human Resources is all about understanding people and learning how to work with people. You have to be able to understand the issues they are going through,” he said. Julio brushing up on his customer service skills at Berea Elementary. “When parents come into our building the first person they see is the front office staff,” said Principal Tom Miller. “If that person is kind, generous and willing to help them it sets a better overall tone for everybody.” Principal Miller calls Davila-Gonzalez a perfect example of Graduation Plus. Julio is a 2018 graduate of Southside High School. He also earned a barbering certification from Donaldson Career Center. “Graduate high school and more. It opens a lot of doors when you are fresh out of high school, otherwise it is hard to get opportunities, but when you have all of these qualifications it is hard for them to say no,”Davila-Gonzalez said.


Kim Rothrock, Cafeteria Manager, Blythe Academy of Languages

Kim Rothrock is the Cafeteria Manager at Blythe Academy. She enjoys feeding EVERY student, but is especially watchful and diligent when it comes to children with allergies. She recently prevented a life threatening reaction by intercepting a child who accidently ordered a meal that could have made him sick. “We print out every recipe every morning and afternoon for breakfast and lunch. We see what the allergens are and we match them up with the children who have allergies,” she said. Rothrock discovered that a fourth grade student had walked away from the serving line with a chicken biscuit that contained sesame. She stopped him, offered to cook him a new meal, and called his mom to let her know what happened and ask if she could come to school to comfort the boy. “What I saw from Kim that day, she didn’t just say ‘Hey son come back here,’ she called me, she did ask his teacher to,” said parent Michelle Ward. “She made me feel confident that she was looking out for him, in most cases I might have said you are never eating cafeteria food again, but if Kim is there you can eat school food everyday,” Ward said.


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