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Community Foundation Announces 2017 Smyth Education Awards
Aug 15, 2017

Through a fund created by Gordon and Mary Beth Smyth, and managed by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, the Nelson County Public Schools presented the 20th annual Smyth Education Awards at their opening meeting on Friday, August 4th, 2017.  The Smyth Education Awards recognize and reward outstanding staff performance in the public schools of Nelson County. During the ceremony, the following ten individuals received a plaque and an individual cash award of $1,000.

Sharon Aldridge, a Second Grade Teacher at Tye River Elementary School, was selected for her creative instruction and for the care that she shows to each of her students.  She serves as a grade level leader, mentors new teachers, guides student teachers, and is part of the Leadership Team.

Shelli Beeler, a Media Specialist at Nelson Middle School, was selected for her exceptional work in making the library an inviting learning center for students.  She collaborates with all teachers as a resource for materials used in support of curriculum needs and was responsible for creating extracurricular activities for students.

Paul Connell, a Building Trades Instructor at Nelson County High School, was selected for his excellent instruction within a “hands-on” setting and for the guidance he gives to his classes each year as they successfully build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

Nathan Davis, a Library Instructional Assistant at Rockfish River Elementary School, was selected for his support to students and teachers within the Resource Center.  Additionally, he also spent countless hours in the creation, direction, and production of a successful school-wide musical of Peter Pan.

Cindy Kirchner, a Fourth Grade Teacher at Rockfish River Elementary School, was selected for her role as an instructional leader among her fellow teachers. She is committed to the learning progress of her students and provides after-school tutoring each week for those who need assistance in math.

Elizabeth Knight, a Social Studies Teacher at Nelson County High School, was selected for the technological innovations she employs to help students explore the social sciences.  She carefully planned meaningful field trips for her students, and sponsored the S.C.A. and the Homecoming Dance in the fall.

Thomas “T.J.” Lilley, the Athletic Trainer at Nelson County High School, was selected for his professionalism, for the long hours required of his position, and for the assistance he provides to all student athletes, coaches, and the entire Nelson County athletics program.

Caroline Parr, a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at Tye River Elementary School, was selected for her dedication to the care and learning of each of her students.  She is a passionate advocate and was successful in her efforts to have needy students identified at an early age for special assistance.

Kelly Tayman, a Bus Driver at Rockfish River Elementary School, was selected for her friendliness to all with whom she works and for her passionate care for those who ride the bus.   She worked proactively with the school administrators and parents to prevent potential student problems.

Sandra Wells, a Custodian at Tye River Elementary School, was selected for the care and compassion that she shows to everyone with whom she works, for her dedication in fulfilling her custodial duties, and, particularly, for the genuine affection and care for each of the students.

About Gordon and Mary Beth Smyth
Gordon and Mary Beth Smyth lived in Nellysford for nearly thirty years.  They have been tremendously supportive of education in Nelson County.  In addition to establishing the Smyth Education Awards, they have provided college scholarships for students and professional development grants for teachers.  Gordon Smyth, a graduate of Lehigh University and forty-two year veteran of the DuPont Company, passed away in 2011.  Mary Beth Smyth resides in Charlottesville.

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