Five honored with ‘Excellence’ awards

A paraprofessional and theater volunteers, a bus driver and a bookkeeper were honored recently by the Jackson County School System with Excellence in Service awards.

September winners of the Excellence in Service award from the Jackson County School System are Paul Pesaresi of the Transportation Department and Linda Moss of South Jackson Elementary School.

September winners of the Excellence in Service award from the Jackson County School System are Paul Pesaresi of the Transportation Department and Linda Moss of South Jackson Elementary School.

Linda Moss, who works side-by-side with special education inclusion classroom teachers at South Jackson Elementary, was described as “an amazing paraprofessional.”

Fifth-grade teacher Kathy Krebs nominated her, noting that Moss works with students in several classrooms and “does a great job at communicating information back to the classroom teacher about the progress of the students she works with each day.”

“She doesn’t just work on academics; she also fosters relationships with these kids so they know she cares about them,” Krebs wrote. “Students who work with her regularly are excited to share their progress with her and work to please her. She is able to get otherwise reluctant students to work on things that give them trouble.”

Krebs said Moss is a “wealth of ideas, and frequently makes and brings materials that she’s found on her own to help meet the goals of the students.”

“She is positive and caring with both staff and students,” Krebs wrote. “She is one of the individuals that makes a positive impact on students every day!”

Moss was recognized at the Oct. 15 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education at East Jackson Elementary School, as was Paul Pesaresi, whose nominator chose to remain anonymous.

Pesaresi, who was hired as a bus driver during the 2017-18 school year, was described as having become “one of our ‘go to’ employees anywhere help is needed.”

In addition to transporting children to and from school each day, he also works in the bus shop between routes. He worked in the shop over the summer and helped prepare West Jackson Middle School for the new school year as summer renovation came to an end.

“He has an inspiring work ethic and always strives to do his best, no matter what the task.  He goes about his day with a supremely positive outlook and has a definite ‘can do’ attitude that influences his co-workers to do the same,” his nominator wrote.

“He is eager to gain new skills and soaks up new information that he is given, putting just-learned information to practice quickly. Though he just began with the school system this past year, he has already earned the respect of his peers and the parents of the children he drives, with many praising his communication and kindheartedness.”

The Jackson County School System honored Mike and Sherry Aquino (seated) and Terri Jamison (center) as October winners of the Excellence in Service award.

The Jackson County School System honored Mike and Sherry Aquino (seated) and Terri Jamison (center) as October winners of the Excellence in Service award.

Sherry and Mike Aquino were honored at the  BOE’s Nov. 12 meeting at West Jackson Middle School, but the west Jackson County couple was nominated for work on the east side of the county.

While they were already active parent volunteers during their son John’s enrollment in elementary, middle and high school on the west side, they have remained involved since his graduation from Jackson County Comprehensive High School in 2016.

East Jackson Comprehensive High School teacher Nancy Gaultney nominated the Hoschton residents for their work in the EJCHS drama department.

“This couple has volunteered to help me in many ways, from building sets to making costumes, even though they have never had any children in this school,” Gaultney wrote. “They do it because they love the arts and want to promote the arts when they can.”

Also honored at the November meeting was WJMS bookkeeper, Terri Jamison.

Her nominator, who wanted to remain anonymous, described her as “a caretaker of our school.”

“She always goes above and beyond to help the faculty and staff,” her nominator wrote. “She makes sure we balance our budgets and have supplies, (and she) provides substitutes and a shoulder to lean on in times of need.”

In addition to her role as a co-worker, she also is a friend, according to the nominator, who described her as a “mama bear taking care of her cubs (who sometimes need reminding of the way to do things).”

The awards were presented by Dr. Selena Blankenship, JCSS human resources director. Honorees are chosen by a committee of personnel from across the district, and Blankenship said anyone can nominate “a deserving individual or group.”

The award is intended to highlight the “unsung heroes who serve the students and staff of the school system,” often without recognition of any kind, Blankenship said.

The nomination form is available online at http://bit.ly/JCSS_18Excellence; nominators must provide their names and email addresses for verification purposes, but they may choose to remain anonymous when the winners are announced.

School system employees, volunteers, or community partners will be considered “for going above and beyond in service to our school community,” she said.

Nominations should range from 150-300 words and should be submitted by the 25th of each month. The award is presented monthly, and nominations remain active during the school year in which they were submitted.

JCSS serves approximately 8,000 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 10 schools throughout Jackson County.

Find more information online at jacksonschoolsga.org, at Facebook.com/JacksonCountySchoolSystem, or Twitter.com/JCSchoolSystem.