Teacher and Service Person of the Year Named

Teacher and Service Person of the Year Named
Posted on 03/14/2019
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson County Schools named the 2019 Teacher of the Year and Service Person of the Year during a dinner at the Charles Town Moose on Wednesday, March 13.
    Blue Ridge Primary School kindergarten teacher Shelly Renee Spitzer is the Teacher of the Year.  She has taught for 19 years, with 16 of these years in her present position. 
    Spitzer earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Arts Degree from West Virginia University.  Spitzer spent a year teaching at Shepherdstown Junior High School and two years as a first-grade teacher in Blue Ridge Elementary before starting at Blue Ridge.
    Spitzer has demonstrated leadership in education throughout her career and has earned several awards.  She co-wrote the current Kindergarten Report Card, served on Math and Reading Cohort Teams, and designed and implemented the Blue Ridge Primary Kindergarten Camp.
    In her classroom, Spitzer emphasizes freedom of choice, parent involvement, and goal setting.  “Ensuring the students develop and learn to the best of their ability includes teaching them life-long skills that go beyond the classroom," Spitzer  said. "While standards and content give students the knowledge to be successful as they go forth, other areas are also important to address. Children benefit from a well-rounded experience which includes connecting school to life.”  Her adherence to her beliefs makes her an outstanding teacher as indicated by several of her colleagues.
    Lawrence “Larry” Willingham was chosen as Service Person of the Year for Jefferson County Schools.   He has been employed by Jefferson County Schools for 26 years in the county’s Transportation Department.   
    His responsibilities include the design and upkeep of almost 100 bus routes, evaluating and determine school bus stop eligibility, preparing transportation payroll for the Finance Department, driving a school bus when needed, assisting in overseeing use of all GPS cameras and two-way radios for buses, being on-call for all emergency situations involving the school system, and multiple other duties as the needs arise.
    In addition to his many duties, Willingham worked diligently to earn his Associate’s Degree from Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, where he was named to the President’s List.
    Willingham's many community involvements have earned him respect and honor as a Jefferson  County citizen.  He has been involved with 4-H clubs, served as a volunteer firefighter, was a certified West Virginia University 4-H Camp Director, served as Chairman of the Charles Town/Ranson Christmas Parade, has worked closely with United States Department of Homeland Security and their involvement with Jefferson County Schools, is a member of the Region Three Interoperable Committee (Statewide Radio System), is a member of the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center – Transportation Section,  and is a member of the T.A. Lowery Elementary School’s LSIC.
    Transportation Director for Jefferson County Schools, Joyce White, said she wholeheartedly recommend Larry as Jefferson County Schools’ next Service Personnel of the Year.  
"Larry goes above and beyond every single day.  His job is not just a job; it is part of who he is as a person.  His good judgment, likeable manner and superior problem-solving skills are a huge part of our department’s success. Larry has the wonderful ability of keeping a level head while navigating through emergency situations.”
    All of the county’s nominees received certificates and recognition at the dinner.  
    Each year, special awards are presented by Mr. Peter Dougherty in honor his late wife, Mrs. Sandy Dougherty, a former English teacher, a teacher of at-risk students, and Attendance Officer for Jefferson County Schools.
    Dougherty presented the Teacher of the Year with a scholarship to Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’ Leadership Jefferson Program and a Walmart gift card to the Service Person of the Year.
    Both award recipients are eligible to participate in the West Virginia Teacher of the Year competition.

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