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Schools crown top instructor

Cluster Springs Early Learning Center Teacher Megan Ferrell fought back tears Thursday evening as Halifax County School Superintendent Dr. Merle Hendon announced she was the recipient of the 2014 Teacher of the Year award during the second annual staff appreciation celebration held at the World of Sports. 

Prior to Herndon’s revealing this year’s Teacher of the Year, Director of Elementary Education/Professional Development Linda Owen shared comments written about each Teacher of the Year nominee. 

Ferrell was described as being “always available to help others” and one to give her students “positive feedback” while being “emotionally supportive” in the classroom. 

In an interview Friday, Ferrell said, “I am ecstatic that I was chosen for this award. It meant a lot to be chosen among all these teachers. I am still in shock. It’s such a huge honor.” 

The Cluster Springs Early Learning Center teacher was able to share this moment with her husband, Jason Ferrell, and her father, Jimmy Bishop. 

“They were just as shocked and happy and proud as I was. They kept telling me how proud they were of me and how they knew I had it in me,” said Ferrell. 

When the event was over, she had to let her mom, Linda Bishop, know right away. 

“I had to call her. It was her and my father who had always stayed up with me to help me study and pushed me to get a good education and pursue a career I love,” said Ferrell. 

Ferrell has been working in the school system for five years. She is a Longwood University graduate where she studied elementary education. 

The 2014 Teacher of the Year nominees also were awarded a plaque Thursday evening. 

Those nominated included Deitra Hart of Clays Mill Elementary School, Stephanie Parris of Cluster Springs Elementary School, Monecia Jackson of Meadville Elementary School, Cheryl Isom of Scottsburg Elementary School, Erica Grubbs of Sinai Elementary School, Ginger Davis of South Boston Elementary School, Kelly Franco of Sydnor Jennings Elementary School, Mary Marie Hamlett of Halifax County Middle School and Joncie Slate of Halifax County High School. 

In addition to announcing the Teacher of the Year, Herndon also recognized school employees with a certificate for service of 20 or more years. 

Those who were recognized for 20 years of service are Robin Anderson, Sue Bamberg, Lynn Carr, Sandra Garner-Coleman, Ellen Haskett, Cheryl Kashmer, Mariltn Lee, Sherry Link, Dewey Lowery Jr., Muriel Marable-White, Vickie Wilbourne Powell, Gloria Stewart, Mary Beth Thompson, Sarah Vaughan and Tina Short Waller. 

Those who have served for 25 years of service are Marliss Healy Barczak, Patricia Davis, Wanda Davis, Phyllis Epps, Valerie McCraw, Deborah Patrick, Wayne Seamster, Lanette Doss Spencer, Gladys McCargo Townsend and Constance Troy. 

Those who have served for 30 years include Benita Bagwell, Eleanor Knowlson, Jonathan Medley and Barbara Owen. 

Those who have served for 35 years include Bonnie Bowen, Kathy Bowen, Elizabeth Clement, Marva Johnson, Doris Petty, Bonita Taylor and Wanda Williamson. 

One employee, Mary L. Davis, was recognized for 40 years of service. 

The 2013-14 retirees also were recognized and given a watch and a certificate. 

The retirees include Deborah Baker, Marsha Barker, Mable Carrington, Mary Jane Coleman, Margaret Skinner Covington, Ramona Elliott, Ann Hunt, Linda Maitland, Agnes Fisher Morris, Teresa Noss, Annette Oakes, Shela Stevens, Jimmie Louis Terry, Mattie Thrower, Mamie Tuck, Althea Marable Williams, Shirley Mason Womack, Lena Wood, John Woody, Estelle Wynn and Pedro Zamora Jr.  

At the beginning of the evening, Assistant Superintendent Valdivia Marshall and School Board Vice-Chairman Dick Stoneman offered welcome remarks. 

“I believe we have traveled in the right path this year because of you…we put out children in your hands, and you all do a great job with them,” said Stoneman. 

“You made (this school system) as great as it is today. Thank you for your loyal and dedicated service.” 

 Door prizes given by 85 local businesses were presented, and participants enjoyed a catered dinner by Four Oaks restaurant. 

Halifax County High School Senior Hamilton Richardson provided music.