Twelve former educators and faculty members were recognized as Pioneers in Education by the Mexico Board of Education Tuesday night. Board members presented each award winner with a plaque and shared memories of their dedication to the district.
The awards were presented during the district's annual Board Christmas Reception held at Central Office.
The 2012 Pioneers in Education for the Mexico School District are: Bernie Phipps, Jackie White, Candice Thomson, David Medley, J.C. Pollard, Glenn Wheeler, Susan Wheeler, Larry Oldvader, LaSandra Taylor, Margaret Thomas, Fern Williams and Ray Heaton.
Some of the statements included:
Phipps served 12 years on the school board and continues to be active within the district in many ways. White taught many years as an elementary teacher at all of the schools in the district, and is considered the "substitute of choice" by her peers. "She can always be counted on to teach the lessons appropriately, and for her exceptional classroom manner."
Thomson taught Language Arts at Mexico Middle School. Her dedication to her students made her a leader and a role model both in and out of the classroom. Medley prepared his students for adulthood. As an admirable teacher, he had successful student results. His classes were challenging and his students learned a great deal. Retired from the teaching profession, he continues to drive a bus for Mexico School District.
Pollard was a great asset to the district. He not only taught, he also drove a school bus. He taught kids life skills and responsibility, how to be safe and the importance of doing a good job.
Glenn and Susan Wheeler, the husband and wife duo, were recognized together, for their service and "loyal dedication" to the district. Susan worked as a paraprofessional at McMillan for many years, and was known mainly for her smile and kind words she shared. Mr. Wheeler "the principal" carried himself with confidence throughout the halls of Mexico Junior High. He had a lot of expectations from his faculty and staff, and gave 100 percent of himself to the business of educating Mexico youth.
Oldvader was the kind of teacher other teachers looked up to and students admired. The students knew they were going to learn, and that Oldvader's classroom would prepare them for the rigors of college.
If you were lucky enough to have been a student of Taylor during your high school years, you knew that she expected 100 percent. She treated each student with respect and went "over and beyond the call of a teacher" to teach them. Thomas also loved her students during her years with the district. Thanks to her dedication, she helped hundreds of students overcome their speech and language disability.
Williams dedicated herself to McMillan Elementary, working primarily with students in small group instruction. Williams supports teachers in a variety of ways such as monitoring, teaching small groups, and using her teaching background and knowledge of programs to reinforce the teacher's instruction.
The late Ray Heaton is remembered as a friend, a leader and a Pioneer in Education for the time he spent as a science teacher and coach for the district. His award was accepted by his widow, Jan.
Following the award presentations, the regular meeting was opened with discussion of the 10-item agenda. Members heard construction reports regarding roof repairs, and building and attendance reports. McMillan was the only school to achieve 95 percent attendance for the quarter, and the winner of the John T. Belcher Scholarship is Mathias Whitworth – who will receive a $250 cash reward, among other incentives.
The Board of Education Budget Work Session was scheduled for Jan. 29, 2013, from 6-8:30 p.m. The Legislative Forum will be held Feb. 19, 2013 in Jefferson City, and board candidate filing is still open until Jan. 15 for two seats on the school board – which currently belong to Robby Miller and Dr. Elwood Rice.
The meeting adjourned into executive session to address personnel and student discipline.