2020 Teacher/Support Staff Employee of the Year
Congrats to 2020 Teacher of the Year Kiley Brown and Support Staff Employee of the Year Glenda Whitaker! The announcement of both awards was made on May 8. A small group of District administrators surprised each of the recipients in person with the news, just before it was announced online to the public. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no banquet event this year.
Brown is a first grade teacher at Bridle Ridge Elementary School. Whitaker is the day lead custodian at Bridle Ridge Elementary School.
As the winners, Brown and Whitaker each receive a $500 cash award, an acrylic desk award, and banners for their schools. Their photos will be on display at the Administrative Services Center.
In addition, Brown receives a Teacher of the Year ring from Balfour, and will be the District’s nominee for Missouri Teacher of the Year. Whitaker will receive a bracelet from Noe’s Jewelry. Brown, Whitaker, and all of the finalists will receive a plaque and items donated by local businesses.
Kiley Brown is 2020 Teacher of the Year
Brown is a first grade teacher at Bridle Ridge Elementary School. She has been working for the District since 2012 teaching first and second grades. During the 2018-2019 school year, she taught general education in the Compass Program. Before joining the District full-time as a teacher, she was a long-term substitute in a kindergarten classroom.
Kiley received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education, from Missouri State University. In December 2019, she completed her master’s degree in Education from William Woods University.
She was nominated by Teacher Alexandra Tompkins, who said: “She is an excellent example of a superior educator. She works tirelessly every single day to make sure her kids get the best education possible. She is also the most calm, compassionate, and loving teacher I have ever met.”
From a former student
A former student said this: “If you have something you’re struggling with, Mrs. Brown will see it and give you the help you need. If you feel like learning is boring, she’ll find a way to make it fun. She works really well with all kids, and she doesn’t even get mad or yell.”
Why she became a teacher
“I can’t remember deciding to become a teacher. I think it is something I just always knew I was going to do. Throughout my life, I had some of the most amazing teachers. There was Mrs. Jenny who would dry my tears every single day in kindergarten when I missed my mom and dad. She never acted inconvenienced and spent so much extra time comforting me. Then, Mrs. Daughtery in 2nd grade who instilled in me my love for reading. Mr. Kidder in 4th grade provided the most amazing learning experiences like turning his classroom into a scene from James and the Giant Peach. Mrs. Ryan in 5th grade connected with her students on such a personal level and made learning so much fun.”
“I could go on and on. All of those moments led me to want to give those same experiences to others; I want to help kids find their love for learning. I also just love kids. I love being the smiling face that greets them every day. I love offering my love and support when they are having a bad day. I love watching something click for the first time. I love challenging students and making them believe in themselves. I am so lucky to get to go to work each day to a job that I love. Teaching is truly the MOST rewarding job and I am so thankful to get to take part in it.”
From Principal Dr. Missy Mattingly
“I can count on Kiley to have cutting edge knowledge about instructional practices, be willing to try new and innovative things, and bring teams together cohesively that may have struggled with personality or belief system differences otherwise. I have been amazed with how quickly and effortlessly Kiley can take a negative or challenging situation and immediately find the good and focus on the positive.”
From the judges
Each finalist for Teacher of the Year had an interview with judges Paul Mensching, Superintendent of the Harrisonville School District, and Jeff Kramer, Superintendent of the Archie School District.
In selecting Brown as the Teacher of the Year, the judges noted that she was very knowledgeable about her craft, and also commented on her heart for kids.
The judges said interviewing the finalists was an uplifting experience. “It always does my heart good when I’m able to talk with other people who are passionate about kids and pushing themselves to be better,” Kramer said. “It helps you reflect on why you like to be in education,” Mensching added.
Glenda Whitaker is Support Staff Employee of the Year
Whitaker is the day lead custodian at Bridle Ridge Elementary School. She has been working as a custodian in the Buildings and Grounds Department of the Ray-Pec School District for 23 years.
Before working at Ray-Pec, Whitaker worked for Skaggs grocery store, Tyson Chicken, three years as a day care provider, and one year in hospital housekeeping.
“When I came to Ray-Pec to work as a custodian, I felt that I found my work home, where I not only get to do what I like to do, which is clean, but I also get to learn and work with the kiddos,” Whitaker said.
She has been nominated for this award three times. She was also a finalist for the award last year.
Whitaker enjoys spending time with her family. She sings in the choir at Park Avenue Baptist Church. In her spare time, she loves sewing and playing games on her computer.
She was nominated by Angie Chamberlain, who said:
“I have always been impressed and moved by the day-to-day interactions Ms. Glenda has with the students, staff, and parents of Bridle Ridge. She is always working to make the school look nice and make sure it is safe for the students and staff. She is always polite, courteous, and has a smile on her face. I cannot thank her enough for always making sure the grounds are safe for the students and staff during the winter months. She is a great role model for the children when it comes to working hard and always shining while working.”
She was also nominated by three students. They said:
- “Ms. Glenda is kind, and she helps me a lot. She keeps our school clean. She is also super funny!”
- “Ms. Glenda keeps the school clean, and that is really nice of her. She makes me laugh and let me help her clean the table at lunch. I love having a turn to be her helper!”
- “Ms. Glenda cleans our halls every day, and that is hard work! She is funny and kind and she is a good helper!”
From Custodial Supervisor Jasmine Demerath:
“Besides being a joy to work with, Glenda is a take-charge person who is able to create solutions to problems and communicate effectively. She is well versed on her position and has never met a task that she wasn’t able to accomplish. Glenda is a good person, which makes her an even better employee. Her sense of humor and willingness to jump in to get the job done draws people to her.”
How she makes a difference:
Whitaker said, “When I begin each day, I ask myself to not only be just the custodian, but what can I learn from the principal, teachers, and staff and have fun doing it.”
From the judges
Each finalist for the Support Staff Employee of the Year award had an interview with two judges: Jaci Foxworthy, vice president of incite Design Studio, and Vickie White, retired from the National Park Service.
The judges said that a consistent theme throughout the interviews was a feeling of “family.” The Support Staff finalists mentioned their “work family” and their “school family” and how important it is to make sure students feel loved and safe.
Whitaker, they said, emphasized listening, talking to people, and building relationships. “She really wants her building to be clean,” White said. “But she also said that she is still learning every day when she goes to work. She told us that she’s learned a lot from her mentor.”
That mentor is Bridle Ridge Principal Dr. Missy Mattingly.
Foxworthy gave one example of a lesson Mattingly shared with Whitaker. “It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.”
Teacher of the Year finalists
Congratulations to the finalists for Raymore-Peculiar 2020 Teacher of the Year:
- Jenni Beck, Raymore Elementary
- Kiley Brown, Bridle Ridge Elementary
- Michelle Claus, Peculiar Elementary
- Erica Dodson, Creekmoor Elementary
- Travis Houston, High School/Middle School
- Angie LaSala, Raymore Elementary
- Jennifer Milligan, Timber Creek Elementary
- Stephanie Parris, Eagle Glen Elementary
- Wendell Pritchett, South Middle School
- Sarah Renfrow, Ray-Pec High School
Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists
Congratulations to the finalists for Raymore-Peculiar 2020 Support Staff Employee of the Year:
- Gigi Duran, Stonegate Elementary
- Dawn Dye, Bridle Ridge Elementary
- Maddy Harrington, Raymore Elementary
- Karla Heinrich, Raymore Elementary
- Lori Hill, Shull Early Learning
- Debbie Johnson, Admin. Services Center
- Jen Landis, Technology Department
- Samuel Myers, Eagle Glen Elementary
- Deborah Sparks, Stonegate Elementary
- Glenda Whitaker, Bridle Ridge Elementary
Teacher of the Year nominees
Congratulations to these other teachers who were also nominated for Teacher of the Year:
- Bridle Ridge Elementary School: Leslie Browning, Amanda Carver, Emily Conrad, Heather Cronk, Robert Dothage, Pam Gonzalez, Tiffany Hill, Rebeca Huber, Melissa Marolt, Kassaundra Mills, Evelyn Peck, Emily Pfaff, Alicia Rodick, Natalie Shrider, Christina Waver, and Brandi Welch.
- Creekmoor Elementary School: Amy Beck, Anna Lemen, and Juline Norman.
- Eagle Glen Elementary School: Stacey Barbarick, Heather Poland, and Simon Schupp.
- Peculiar Elementary School: Sheri Capper, Brittney Coleman, Monica Crabtree, Megan Jones, and Kyla McBee.
- Raymore Elementary School: Kathy Ruch.
- Stonegate Elementary School: Andrea Becker, Christine Campos, Pepper Grimm, Mary Roth, and Benjamin Sheldon.
- Timber Creek Elementary School: Lisa Carr, Bethanie Cummings, Shaniece Martin, Sarah Newkirk, and Lynn Noirfalise.
- East Middle School: Diane Ejjadaili, Kymbre Resler, and Alexis Stark.
- South Middle School: Ashleigh Dick, Angie Donaldson, Catie Howlett, Rachel Jacobs, Aubri Janes, Nick Janes, Dillon Jarrett, Kymbre Resler, Melissa Schmidt, Dane Schnake, Michele Sherron, Kali Standley, and Greg Watson.
- Ray-Pec High School: Brett Beneke, Dillon Jarrett, Scott Jermain, Stephen Rew, Stefani Russ, Todd Schnake, and Charlene White.
Support Staff Employee of the Year nominees
Congratulations to these other employees who were also nominated for Support Staff Employee of the Year:
- Bridle Ridge Elementary School: Angela Schulze.
- Creekmoor Elementary School: Lisa Baird.
- Eagle Glen Elementary School: Kristin Lininger and Brenda Reinholdt.
- Raymore Elementary School: Konni Noyes.
- Stonegate Elementary School: Leigh Kirkpatrick and Corrie Posey.
- Timber Creek Elementary School: Barb Rewald.
- East Middle School: Teresa Eberhart.
- South Middle School: Peggy Brotherton-Ford and Katherine Floyd.
- Ray-Pec High School: Debbie Larson, Nabil Pettit, and Michelle Plummer.