Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020

In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity. -  Albert Einstein

Thank you!

We know that 2020 has been a difficult year, but we are very proud of how GCS employees have handled unprecedented changes gracefully and have shown their resilience, unbelievable flexibility, and understanding throughout the past months. While the shutdown created many challenges, it also united us in many ways.

During American Education Week, we are encouraging GCS employees to share words of gratitude with their peers by writing personal messages on #GCSStrong postcards to let them know they are appreciated. We are asking schools and staff to use the hashtag #GCSStrong on their social media and in communications with families. We will also post stories on the GCS social media and website to honor individuals across the district.

This week, we are celebrating the 10,000-plus GCS staff members who, despite the challenges, are keeping students engaged, responding to social-emotional needs, feeding the children, developing and improving their own and their students’ technical skills, transporting them to clean, safe school buildings, connecting families to schools virtually, and developing out-of-the-box solutions to whatever unique circumstances they face.

Thank you for everything you do to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of each and every student.

Each day this week will are honoring different groups of employees to celebrate their unique contributions.

American Education Week 2020 GCS Strong - In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity - Albert Einstein

  • Monday – School Support Staff
  • Tuesday – Transportation Staff
  • Wednesday – Educators
  • Thursday – Operations and Maintenance Staff
  • Friday – District Staff

Friday – District Staff

Raashad FitzpatrickRaashad Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent/Ombudsman, Central Office

As a former high school principal, Raashad Fitzpatrick brings a wealth of experience in problem-solving and resolution-building. His role is to work with parents and the community to seek answers to difficult questions and to respond to their concerns. The bottom line, he says, is to help students succeed.

Tara DeanTara Dean, Director of Special Academic Projects

When Governor McMaster announced the closure of schools in March, Tara Dean was on the front line in the development of the curriculum and academic structure for the GCS Virtual Program. Her goal is to provide the resources teachers need to ensure they can interact with students on a daily basis.

Thursday – Operations and Maintenance

Stephen PascoeStephen Pascoe, Preventive Maintenance Foreman, Space Drive Distribution Center

Stephen Pascoe leads the district’s Preventive Maintenance Team. While they are not specifically trained in construction, they gladly assumed duties this fall to build plexiglass dividers that are being placed in classroom across the district.

Amanda GassAmanda Gass, Food Services Area Manager, MT Anderson Support Center

This spring’s shutdown required Amanda Gass and the Food Service team to change the way meals were provided to students. She led Zoom meetings to keep staff informed and built teams with employees in food service, transportation, and nursing services to get food to children in the community.

Wednesday – Educators

Keith RayKeith Ray, English Language Arts, Greenville Early College

Keith Ray began his teaching career just three years ago, in his 50s, following 20-plus years as a pastor and a stint on the GCS School Board. He’s found that he loves what he is doing, and says the students are teaching him as much as he is teaching them.

Carmen Biosca-BakerCarmen Biosca-Baker, ESOL, Cherrydale Elementary

A native of Spain, Mrs. Biosca-Baker uses her love of languages to support parents and teachers at Cherrydale Elementary School. She helps non-English speaking students build trust among their peers and staff and provides students and families with opportunities to succeed.

Charles BonzagniCharles Bonzagni, Mechatronics Instructor, Donaldson Career Center

Charles Bonzagni spent 45 years working in a career in mechatronics. He made the decision to teach at Donaldson Career Center so he can share his experience and get students on a part to a lifelong career.

Tuesday – Transportation Staff

Eldree EdwardsEldree Edwards, Bus Driver, Golden Strip Bus Center

Bus Driver Eldree Edwards drives three routes, where she encourages students to follow proper protocol for mask-wearing and distancing. She motivates students to be their best through unity and respect for others.

Geneva Pearl Geneva Pearl “Peaches” Jenkins, Bus Driver, Golden Strip Career Center

What started out as a four-year stint as a bus driver while attending college has turned into a 10-year career. Peaches found that she loves interacting with students on the bus and knows she is making a difference in young people’s lives.

Monday – School Support Staff

Sophie FullerSophie Fuller, College/Career Navigator, Lifelong Learning

Sophie Fuller is responsible for assisting students in the GED program as they navigate to higher education or the workforce. In addition to helping them complete applications and apply for jobs, she also connects them with community resources for housing, food, utilities, daycare, and other essential needs.

Virginia CzaplaVirginia Czapla, Bilingual Parent Facilitator/School Clerk, Berea High

For seven years, Virginia Czapla has served as a liaison between Spanish-speaking parents and teachers at Berea High School. She not only covers the front office, but also assists in the attendance office when an interpreter is needed.

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