Congratulations to our Classified & Educational Support Employees of the Year!
Amy Smith, CCSD Secretary of the Year
Amy Smith, a secretary for River Heights Elementary, is an expert at making sure everyone is cared for, including students and teachers. She loves her job and enjoys getting to know the students and helping them with their needs. Before working as a secretary, Smith was a paraprofessional reading aide. She found a lot of satisfaction in helping students to learn their potential and achieve success. Smith then worked as a lunch secretary for seven years at Heritage Elementary before joining River Heights.
Melissa Grish, a third-grade teacher, observed that she wouldn’t have been able to do her job during this challenging school year if it had not been for Smith. This year, Smith was in charge of managing paperwork, students’ needs, and the needs of the teachers during the pandemic. “Amy goes above and beyond to make our jobs easier and smoother,” Grish explained. “She is a problem solver! I feel like I can go to Amy with any problem.” In addition, Smith strives to create an atmosphere of learning at the school and make everyone feel important. “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen,” Smith says. “You want kids to know that good things are going to happen.”
Brent Powell, CCSD Bus Driver of the Year
Brent Powell has been a bus driver for Mountainside Elementary and South Cache Middle School for the last five years. Powell is originally from Payson, Utah. When he moved to Cache Valley, he worked with the Cache County Sheriff's Office for 12 years before becoming a school resource officer at Mountain Crest High School for another 12 years. Now, as a bus driver, Powell takes time every year to get to know the names of all of the students who ride his bus. He shows them that he genuinely cares for each of them and believes that all bus drivers can have a positive impact on the lives of the children in their care. “Drivers do so many extraordinary things in this county,” Powell explained.
Powell was one of the bus drivers to deliver lunches to families during the pandemic. “Brent would take time to check on [each] family and make sure they and the children were doing okay,” Stephanie Parish, a teacher, and parent explained. “Brent checked on all the students that rode his bus, even if it was not a family that usually received lunch from the bus. He would help deliver schoolwork to students and help families get materials back to the school.”
Cheryl Porritt, CCSD Paraprofessional of the Year
Cheryl Porritt is a paraprofessional at Lewiston Elementary who works specifically with kindergarten through second-grade small reading group instruction. Porritt, who attended Lewiston Elementary as a child, has been working at the school for 13 years. Throughout the years, Porritt has seen many students struggle to find confidence in themselves and their schoolwork. She strives to encourage them by sharing her philosophy: Do your personal best and never give up, even when things are tough. “The kids need to know they are loved, they’re smart, they're capable, and that not everybody learns at the same pace,” Porrit explained. “Do your best because your best could be different than someone else’s best.”
Porritt is known for her willingness to step up to help when needed and having a cheerful attitude while doing it. DeLyn Bouck, another paraprofessional at Lewiston, explained, “Cheryl is consistently going above and beyond her own job duties. She is motivated and dependable, ambitious, and proactive.”
Josh Hansen, CCSD Head Custodian of the Year
Josh Hansen has been the head of maintenance for Ridgeline High School since the school opened in 2016. He continually cares for and maintains over 50 acres of land and 20 acres of landscaping. Communication is something that Hansen holds high in value when it comes to caring for the school. If a teacher needs something, Hansen makes sure that he acts quickly to fulfill the request. He also takes time to get to know the students and teachers, while setting the standards and expectations for cleanliness throughout Ridgeline. When Hansen first started, he sat his crew down and made sure they knew that they had more value to them than just their job title. “We are not janitors. We are much more,” Hansen told them. “We are the maintenance crew.”
Ridgeline is known for being a very clean school, and the faculty and administrators say that it isn’t just because the school is relatively new. Assistant Principal DeAnna Stallings explained how she was shocked at how clean the school was when she first walked through the doors. “Josh takes such pride in Ridgeline High School, both inside and out,” Stallings said. “Whenever visitors come to our school, they always comment on the cleanliness of the building and the beauty of our grounds. All of this is thanks to Josh’s leadership skills and his pride in his work and his love for Ridgeline High.”
Ann Richman, CCSD Food Service Manager of the Year
Ann Richman is the Food Service Manager for Canyon Elementary and is known for her upbeat and positive attitude. Richman is from Paradise and has lived in the South end of the valley her entire life. Richman was instrumental when it came to managing food services during the pandemic. Her dedication to her job turned her kitchen into one of the district’s highest-producing student meal providers. Richman works tirelessly to provide good meals for the students and the teachers at Canyon and making sure everyone’s needs are met. “Ann demonstrates kindness to the staff and the students, always saying hello and asking how they are,” Jennifer Scott, a third-grade teacher at Canyon, explained.
Principal Stacie Williamson observed that Richman goes out of her way for the students and she is always trying to make things fun and exciting for the whole school by doing extra things for the staff. “We just all appreciate Ann so much,” Williamson said. “She is a very thoughtful person who is always looking out for others.”