Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, Nelson County Public Schools virtually presented their 23rd Annual Smyth Education Awards to ten individuals recognized for their outstanding performance throughout the year. Through a fund created by Gordon and Mary Beth Smyth, and managed by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, the following individuals received a plaque and an individual cash award of $1,000.
April Aldridge, a Speech Therapy and Language Development teacher at Tye River Elementary School was recognized for her caring assistance to each of her students. She was also commended for her professionalism and expertise when working with teachers and parents within the School.
Clay Ashby, an Administrative Assistant at the School Board Office, was selected for his impeccable professionalism and work ethic. His work in strategic planning and program development and documentation has benefited from his experience as a former teacher. It has provided a valuable perspective within these projects. He was also recognized for his friendliness, diligence, and his willingness to work many hours at home to ensure the completion of date sensitive tasks and reports.
Scott Belcher, Band Director at Nelson Middle School and Nelson County High School, was commended for his outstanding work, consummate professionalism, and dedicated service to students, fellow teachers, the Schools, and the community as a whole. Scott Belcher is recognized by all as a mainstay within the Nelson County School community.
Jennifer Campbell, an English teacher at Nelson County High School, was recognized for her outstanding work and creative instruction. As a result, each of her students practice language and writing skills each day through personal journaling. She was commended for her exemplary work as the Chair of the English Department and for her work as a Nelson County representative at many state wide educational committees.
Wendy Lane, a Special Education teacher at Rockfish River Elementary School, was selected for her devotion to the well-being of each student and dedication to improving Rockfish River Elementary every day. She is always willing to assist other teachers, to work as a tutor, and to teach home bound students.
Heather Mays, the Food Services Manager at Tye River Elementary School, was recognized for her professionalism and dedication to providing nutritional and healthy meals at Tye River. She is always friendly and greets each student by name and always with a smile. She was also commended for her commitment to the emergency Summer Feeding Program which provided meals to Nelson County families affected by the school closings caused by COVID-19.
Ricki Perry, a Guidance Counselor at Nelson Middle School, was selected for her dedication to students, both individually and in small groups. She was also recognized for her work in organizing School wide social projects that have contributed to creating a positive atmosphere. Once such example is the Christmas Gift Program which ensured that every student in her School received a holiday gift.
Sandra Pollard, the Secretary at Tye River Elementary School, was commended for her outstanding work, professionalism, friendly attitude, expertise, knowledge of her School community (particularly her familiarity with students and family members), and for her calmness amid all the commotion within the Principal’s office at Tye River Elementary School.
Brandon Stinson, a Third Grade teacher at Tye River Elementary School, was selected for the compassion and dedication that he provides to all students, peers, and the School. He has organized school wide events and is especially commended for regularly organizing family “outings” and dinners for his students and their families. He is further recognized for volunteering to coach baseball teams for the Nelson Youth League and for Nelson Middle School.
Justice Turner, an Instructional Assistant in the Pre-K Special Education classroom at Tye River Elementary School, was recognized for her compassion, dedication to all the students in her class, and for the invaluable assistance she provides to the Pre-K Special Education Teacher. She was particularly commended for her willingness to volunteer to work after school and while at home.
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.