Friday, June 23, 2017

TOP STORY >> District salutes staff for service

Leader staff writer

Tolleson Elementary School secretary Ava Coleman, Jacksonville Middle School attendance clerk Adrienna Williams, district maintenance director Kevin Stalnaker and Bayou Meto cafeteria manager Sherry Ottis were honored at the last district school board meeting for their dedication to students, staff and the district.

Coleman, Williams and Stalnaker were honored with the inaugural Titan Service Awards.

Ottis was named classified employee of the year.


Principal Gary Beck said, “Walking into the cafeteria at Bayou Meto Elementary, one might enter a forest of trufulla trees and Dr. Seuss characters or be transported into a fall wonderland of colors or the magic of winter with Olaf and the cast of Frozen. Why would someone take the time to transform a cafeteria in that way? Because our cafeteria manager, Sherry Ottis works hard to have a warm inviting cafeteria for all to enjoy.”

Ask her what she loves about her job and she will tell you it’s the kids.

“These kids are her kids and she will do everything she can to help them become the best that they can be,” Beck wrote.

He added, “She is open and accessible, hardworking and understanding, letting one know when things are going right and always willing to help when things go awry.”

“For you see, it is not just the shiny decorations that adorn the walls of our cafeteria, it is the brilliance of Sherry’s character that has touched our hearts and blessed the lives of so many,” Beck wrote.


“Ava Coleman is truly the glue that holds Tolleson together,” her principal, Angela Stewart, wrote in the nomination, “and I do not know what we would do without her.”

The nomination continued, “Ava goes above and beyond to assist our students and parents at Tolleson. She is always accommodating to parents and helps them with resources when they need help. She is friendly to everyone and always has a smile on her face.”

“‘That is not my job’ are words that one will never hear Ms. Coleman say. Anything one asks of her, she will try to do or find someone who knows the answer. She goes out of the way to find things to make the teachers’ jobs easier. She is always accessible to parents, teachers and students. Applying that magic band aid to a wounded first grader, rounding up stray supplies needed, to soothing the nerves of a new parent or maximizing partnerships – our nominee does it all,” wrote the principal.

The principal added, “Ms. Coleman has such a great sprit. Her joy shines and makes the day brighter.”

Stewart closed the nomination by saying, “Ava Coleman feels her role in the school allows her to be a social change agent, to help create a better future for our children and a better tomorrow.


Principal Mike Hutchinson nominated Williams because “she is always willing to help out whenever needed, she goes above and beyond what is expected of her. Williams comes in daily with a big smile and a positive attitude.”

Williams joined the middle school staff as attendance clerk after the school year had already started. “Accepting a position that had some instabilities. When she began, there were three weeks of attendance data to review and repair. She had to learn the computer system on the job, as well as become acquainted with the staff and JMS office and school procedures. Despite these challenges, she came to school every day with a smile and a kind heart,” the principal write.

He added, “She became our supply orderer, helped with discipline input, managed phones and parents, assisted with timekeeping records, all on top of handling attendance.”


Dr. Janice Walker, the principal at Arnold Drive, nominated Stalnaker.

“Kevin Stalnaker (district maintenance director) exhibits the epitome of professionalism,” Walker wrote in her nomination of Stalnaker. “It was a huge undertaking to ensure all schools within the district were ready for students. He not only supervised his limited number of workers, but worked alongside them to make sure our schools were ready.”

In his nomination, it stated that, “When he enters a building he is always friendly, professional and focused toward addressing the concern. It is also evident that he has instilled this approach with the individuals he supervises.”

Walker closed the nomination by saying, “He is a maintenance director who truly has a passion for his job and working to ensure quality service and customer satisfaction.”

All four winners received a trophy, medallion, and gift cards.