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 21st Annual Smyth Education Awards at their opening meeting on Wednesday, August 1st. 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.
Tom Beverly, a Custodian at Nelson County High School, was selected for his outstanding work and professionalism. He was commended for his overall contributions to the school and for being a model of willing service to administrators, teachers, and students alike.
Ashley Bryant, a Counselor at Tye River Elementary School, was selected for her dedication to the individual and particular needs of every student. She was recognized as a model of positive thought, enthusiasm, and personal encouragement. She was also commended for sponsoring Girls on the Run, the yearbook, and for her role as a liaison between the school and the community.
Darius Byrd, an Instructional Assistant for students with special needs at Nelson Middle School, was recognized for working exceptionally well with students, each of whom needs and appreciates his unending patience and calm understanding. He was commended for tutoring students after school each day and for his contributions to the basketball program.
Lauren Dingman, a Fifth Grade Teacher at Tye River Elementary School, was recognized and praised by her peers as a strong instructional member of her teaching team. She was commended for her successful efforts in forging positive and trusting relationships with parents and for her work as a co-teacher with the Special Education program.
Jeannie Drumheller, a Bus Driver at Rockfish River Elementary School, was selected for working in an open and friendly manner with administrators, student riders, and their parents. She was commended for her reliability as an activity bus driver and her willingness to volunteer, when needed over the years, to assist the transportation department or her fellow drivers.
Eric Hathaway, a Third Grade Teacher at Rockfish River Elementary School, was recognized by his peers for his work ethic, his encouraging patience, and for his effective teaching style. He was commended for his creativity, for making learning fun for all of his students, and for being a positive and enthusiastic force at his school.
Amy Howard, a Special Education and Reading Resource Teacher at Nelson County High School, was selected for being an energetic and loving teacher, friend, and caretaker of severely challenged students. She was recognized as an outstanding department leader, collaborative teacher, and case manager. She was especially commended for using her planning period to work with a nonverbal student as she teaches her to use various strategies on an iPad to express her needs.
David Johnson, a Custodian at Rockfish River Elementary School, was universally praised by all for his positive and enthusiastic attitude, for his work ethic, and for his many daily contributions to the friendly atmosphere at his school. He was especially commended for his exemplary work this year with several troubled male students who, because of his guidance and mentorship, flourished and grew as students and as young men.
Stephanie Mayo, a Business Teacher at Nelson Middle School, was recognized by her supervisors and her peers for her friendly, innovative instruction and for the sincere care that she shows to all of her students. She was especially commended for including students in planning, organizing, and running the School Store and for sponsoring the Business as Usual Club.
Dee Mitchelson-Shaver, a Special Education Teacher at Nelson County High School, was recognized for her enthusiastic, positive, and friendly attitude. She was commended for her work in preparing students for life after school by incorporating life skills in daily lessons and developing a transition program emphasizing work readiness skills.
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.