UNSUNG HEROES: See who each Troup County school recognized for their work behind the scenes

Published 8:58 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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The Troup County School System recognized its Unsung Heroes of the School Year 22-23 during Thursday night’s school board meeting.  The Unsung Hero award recognizes staff who have positively influenced the organization from behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary, and a commitment to excellence.

Here’s a breakdown of all 29 unsung heroes:



Berta Weathersbee Elementary School – Joy Moore

“Ms. Joy Moore serves as our front secretary. No matter what she is dealing with professionally and personally, she has this captivating smile that overtakes you. Numerous people have entered the doors of Berta and they always seem to comment about Ms. Moore. Whenever they mention her to me I always say, “Guess what her first name is! It’s Joy!” If you are a faculty member or staff member and are having a difficult time, you know you can pay Ms. Moore a visit and her greeting reassures you that everything will be alright. Ms. Joy Moore is truly a God sent person and she is walking in her calling.” — written by Principal Willie Cooks


Callaway Elementary School – Dexter Williams

“Ms. Dexter is an integral member of the Callaway Elementary School Family. His job title is Family Engagement Liaison, however, he is much more than that to us. Earlier this school year, when a student was having a difficult time transitioning to and from class at the beginning of the day, Mr. Dexter unselfishly agreed to be that student’s preferred person. He met the student at the front of the school each day, ensuring he got breakfast and to class. At the end of each day, Mr. Dexter retrieved that student from class and waited with him  until his parents arrived. For this student, it meant not all of the noise, busyness, and transition that the beginning and end of the day presented. This is just one example of how Mr. Dexter cares for our students and is willing to do whatever is needed to support them. When he is not in the atrium greeting students, they ask for him. He is the go to person not just for that one student but for many of our students. These are just a few of the reasons I nominate Mr. Dexter Williams as Callaway Elementary School’s Unsung Hero.  — written by Principal Melanie Bastien


Clearview Elementary School – Robin Boddie and Earnestine Cannon.

“Ms. Robyn and Ms. Earnestine are two of our custodians. When we were short staffed with custodians and did not have a lead for many months, they immediately stepped up and took it upon themselves to come in at 5 every morning and leave only when the job was done. They were both true leaders and diligent workers. It was their mission to ensure we had a clean, welcoming environment so we could reach our overall CVES mission! They exemplify what it means when we say at CVES we are BetterTogether.”  — written by Principal Shannah Maby


“Mrs.Cannon has been working a double cleaning schedule for the past three months and standing in as Lead (the former lead went out on FMLA) and never once has she complained about the workload and has been very understanding and patient with the hiring process (no applicants)” — written by Custodial Services Director Kenneth Flanders


Ethel Kight Elementary School – Lacy Brown

“Lacy Brown joined the Ethel Kight staff as a “NEW” TCSS nutrition manager on March 8, 2022. Upon her arrival she did everything in her power to make sure her staff worked as a team to serve the needs of our students. She worked with the building administrators to support the students’ well-being and success by providing nutritious meals to fuel academic achievement. She brought school spirit in her kitchen. She and her staff had fun together; they laughed and joked, enjoyed each other’s company and participated in school activities. Lacy is a great leader to her kitchen staff. Lacy is still working hard every day, but now she is dedicated to working on the road to recovery after suffering a stroke ten months into her new job.” — written by Principal Candance McGhee


Franklin Forest Elementary School – Elizabeth Kilgore

“We are excited to celebrate Ms. Liz Kilgore as our Unsung Hero for 2023! She serves Franklin Forest as one of our fabulous Kindergarten paraprofessionals, but she wears so many more hats. She is also our PTO Treasurer, Lead parapro, substitute, and Strings Attached sponsor. Ms. Kilgore is here early and stays late to make sure that she has done everything possible to help our school shine! She is always willing to offer a helping hand to students, paras, teachers, and families and greets every request for help with a smile! She has a dual perspective as an educator and as a parent of two FFE students. Her insight helps us to make better decisions for our entire school community. We are so thankful for her dedication to our school family and proud to have her as our Unsung Hero!” — written by Principal Lindsey Binion


Hillcrest Elementary School – Terri Brown

“It is an honor to be able to nominate Terri for this award. Terri has been at Hillcrest for over 20 years and truly is the backbone of our school. There are so many things that she takes care of for our school that most people don’t even realize she does. Terri is a hard worker that is dedicated to the success of our students, our families, and our staff. She is quick to jump in and help wherever she can, and I am so thankful and honored to get to work with her each day.  She deserves all of the recognition for everything she does to keep our school running.” — written by Principal Christy Keeth


Hogansville Elementary School – Lorraine Boone

“Lorraine Boone is the quiet supporter of all things Hogansville. Ms. Boone has always been a valuable asset to our school community, but over the course of the last school year she has stepped in to fill many roles after the loss of a staff member and friend. Ms. Boone not only continued to fulfill all of her roles, but took on many additional roles during this last year. Throughout all of this, she remains gracious, willing, dependable, and always sees the job through to the end. She is the champion for many students, the friend to many colleagues, and a source of great communication to many parents. She wears many hats and wears them all well. We are so appreciative for all she does for all of us at Hogansville Elementary and are truly proud to call her a Greenwave!”  — written by Principal Dr. Hanna Beall


Hollis Hand Elementary School – Misty King

“Mrs. King is a kindergarten para at Hollis Hand. She is an exceptional para. She knows the ins and outs of the classroom. She cares for her students, and support the classroom teacher wholeheartedly. Mrs. King also works at our ACE program after school. She also plans multiple events for the school like the senior walk. She also helps LaGrange High school with events and activities. Mrs. King helps. That’s who she is. She helps students, staff members, and parents. She is one of those “glue” people on a staff. Her ability to get along with people, combined with her servant leadership and positivity, make her an incredibly valuable employee. I am very happy to recommend her for this award, and proud to call her a Hawk.” — written by Principal Matt Body


Long Cane Elementary School- Christina Winslett

“Mrs. Winseltt is a sub at LCE. She is so incredibly dependable. She also has a background in social work and counseling. When students are struggling she is the first to step in and lend a helping hand. The students love her. She has ideas for our building that we have used. Teachers love it when Mrs. Winslett is here! She may be a sub, but she is considered part of our staff.” — written by Principal Katie Brown


Rosemont Elementary School – Ann Petty

Ann is a perfect example of an unsung hero and it came as no surprise to me that our staff selected her because she got my vote, as well.   Ann is our cafeteria manager and she truly embodies a whole child approach to serving our Tiger Cubs.  Ann and her team are some of the first faces our kiddos see each day and she understands how much she contributes to student success. Ann and her team greet our students with a smile and call them by name. They are kind and encouraging. She brainstorms fun and creative ways to make students feel connected and welcome in our cafeteria.  She is a team player who is always willing to be flexible and help us make something special happen for our students, even if it makes her job more difficult.  She jumps right in, makes the change, and does it with a smile because she wants our students to have the very best experience every day.  Ann is a large part of the reason why our Tiger Cubs feel comfortable and at home when they’re with us at school.  Thank you Ann, for being a light and for serving our Tiger Cubs so well. We love you!” — written by Principal Martie Hornsby


West Point Elementary School – Shelly Heard

“We first met Shelly heard when she volunteered as a grandparent reader for grandparents day! She did an amazing job and it was evident she had a knack for working with children! She has a lovely spirit that is always positive and optimistic! We knew immediately we wanted her to work in our building! She loves every kid like they are her own! Shelly has come right in as a Title 1 paraprofessional and does her job with ease! She’s been so flexible this year when we had a PK para unexpectedly resign. She goes wherever and does whatever is needed to help make our day run smoothly! Shelly always asks what she can do to help. She has filled in a t the front desk when needed and she does anything placed before her with a spirit of excellence, humility, and genuine love/ care for our students and parents! She is a dream to have as a staff member. If only we could clone her! She is always filled with joy, love, and passion to ensure she does/gives her best! Shelly is our unsung hero at WPES and we are blessed to have her!” — written by Assistant Principal Angela Smith


Callaway Middle School – Christine Gatlin

“Mrs. Gatlin has been very supportive and flexible since day 1. At the beginning of the school year when we were brainstorming the best options for our supper program, she provided us with a lot of flexibility that helped us serve our students in an orderly, safe fashion. Even though this required more time and effort within her department, she worked with us because she knew it was the best option for our students. She has also served as an effective leader by overseeing her nutrition staff. She has a very positive relationship with her team members which helps them to operate efficiently as they serve 740 students per day; breakfast, lunch, and supper. She wears a smile at all times and makes the cafeteria fun by incorporating seasonal themes during holidays and special events. As principal of Callaway Middle School, I can’t thank Mrs. Gatlin enough for everything she does to help our school operate smoothly. She is a team player that is always willing to work with others to support the best interests of our students.” — written by Principal Todd McRae


Gardner Newman Middle School: Beverly Stenson and Jennifer Kirkland

Beverly Stenson:  Mrs. Stenson has been at GNMS for the past 8 years.  She works as a paraprofessional in our Special Education Department.  Mrs. Stenson is always willing to assist our students with testing needs, accommodations, and anything else they need to be successful.  She also supports our students and their multitude of needs.  Every morning she greets our special education students when they get off the bus. She is a ray of sunshine and has shown great dedication. — written by Principal Kelley Adams

Jennifer Kirkland:  Mrs. Kirkland has been employed with GNMS for the past 4 years.  She has worked as a speech paraprofessional, and now our receptionist.  She is the first face our parents and visitors see when they enter Gardner Newman Middle School.  She is so helpful when parents have difficulties checking students out.  Also, she has a way with parents and the gift of de-escalation.  Mrs. Kirkland is flexible and adaptable in any situation.  I wish all employees went the extra mile like Mrs. Kirkland! — written by Principal Kelley Adams


Long Cane Middle School – Donnie Boykin 

“Mr. Boykin greets every student and adult with kindness every single day.  He is the epitome of a positive attitude and has never used the word no in his daily work.  Our students and staff genuinely love and admire his hard work and commitment to our LCMS team.  We function as a team from top to bottom and he is a critical part of ours.” — Principal Whitney Glisson


Callaway High School – Carol Wallace

Mrs. Wallace demonstrates what it means to #becallaway every day. Carol does everything in her power to make sure coverage is found when the teachers are absent.  Sometimes that means she works at home tirelessly calling substitutes until someone is found.  She could be described as a magician, because she can always make it work. She is also very helpful when teachers come to the office for any reason.  She loves our school and she does so much to support our teachers and students. In addition to securing subs, and running the front office, she has one of the most important and sometimes toughest jobs in the building – she tells me what to do! I simply couldn’t function without her support, and I am so greatly appreciative of her commitment to making sure we are successful in everything we do. Carol has a heart of gold, she’s an incredible asset to CHS, and she is very deserving of this award.” — Callaway High Principal Jason Graham


LaGrange High School – Bobby Drews

“Bobby Drews is the generator of LaGrange High School. Whenever we ask him to address an issue, he quickly ensures it is completed. LHS is blessed with his leadership and loyalty. Hard work often spotlights the character of an individual. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. Listen to the familiar jangle of your keys the next time you walk down the hall. They sing a song of duty, honor, and dedication. They symbolize so much more than your ability to open doors, turn off lights, clean up spills, or maintain what we mess up. On any given day, pass by Mr. Bobby, say hello, and ask how his day is going. No matter the situation, his response will always be the same, “It’s another day in paradise.” While I’m sure he would rather be on a cruise ship floating around the Caribbean, LHS might be the next best thing. Whether you call him on the radio, on his phone, during school hours, or on the weekend, Mr. Bobby always addresses the needs of his campus. He is always available for a quick laugh to lighten any mood. He has even been known to send you pictures of God’s beautiful creation, the Carribean, while you’re stuck back at work. Passing him in the hall and getting the ole chuckle followed by “the man with the plan” always set the mind at ease. Mr. Bobby, thank you for all you do for our school, staff, students, and community. You are the measure of a Granger!” — written by Principal Jamie Bozeman


Troup High School – Janice Johnson

“As our Lead Custodian, Mrs. Janice holds herself and those around her to high expectations for their job performance.  She leads by example and never asks anything of her staff that she is not willing to do herself.  Mrs. Janice truly takes pride in our building and goes above and beyond to make sure that Troup High is attractive and appealing inside and out.  She is not satisfied with just completing a checklist of tasks but rather takes care of our campus as if it was her own home.  Her work ethic and the pride she takes in our building is greatly appreciated by our staff, students, parents, and community as a whole.  Mrs. Janice keeps THS looking its best, which goes a long way in maintaining high morale for students and staff alike.  I’m grateful for her and the work she puts into our campus.” — written by Principal Niki Watts


The HOPE Academy – Pamela Langston

“Mrs. Pamela Langston joined the HOPE Academy team during the 22-23 school year and has been valuable to the team. She is dependable, inspiring, compassionate, and considerate. She is always willing to lend a helping hand in any way possible. She goes out of her way to make sure the people around her are taken care of. She provides small treats to all the staff and has an inspirational word for everyone. Mrs. Langston provides joy on days that are not the best.

One of the most remarkable things about Mrs. Langston is her willingness to go above and beyond to help out her colleagues. She is always looking for ways to make the lives of other teachers easier and more enjoyable. For example, she volunteers her time to organize teacher appreciation events, like luncheons and small gifts, throughout the school year. This extra effort goes a long way in creating a positive and supportive work environment for everyone.

Mrs. Pamela Langston is a true unsung hero of The HOPE Academy. Her selflessness, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence have made a significant impact on the lives of students, colleagues, and the community. She is a shining example of the best that education has to offer, and her contributions are truly deserving of recognition and praise.” — Stephanie Winn -Chappell


THINC College and Career Academy – Robin Morris

“Robin Morris is the face of THINC Academy and has been since we opened our doors to students in the 2016-17 school year. Robin runs the front desk at THINC and juggles many responsibilities. From student attendance, sick students, communicating with base high schools, securing substitutes, and scrambling to find coverage, Robin does it. Most importantly, she does it with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone. Robin goes above and beyond in all that she does, but most especially when it comes to making students feel appreciated and loved – Robin is always the friendly face who offers encouragement. As we all know, securing substitutes can be incredibly difficult, but Robin works diligently to do this, even if it means making calls at 9:30pm or 5:30am – well beyond her working hours, Robin never asks for anyone else to do this. She handles substitutes, even when she herself is out. Robin Morris is a blessing to the students and staff of THINC College and Career Academy. She is a huge part of the reason we have some substitutes who are loyal to THINC Academy. She is a pleasure to work with and we are beyond blessed to have her.” — Principal Jennifer Pike


Troup County Career Center – Stephanie Marcellini

“Since joining TC3 this year,  Ms. Marcellini has become the nerve center of the school.   She makes sure that all of us are where we are supposed to be, on time, and doing what we are supposed to be doing.   She supports students and staff with their needs making time to nurture positive relationships with students and staff.  Her caring smile and generous nature gives the school a welcoming appeal to the students and the community we serve.” — Principal Jeff Little


Administrative Services Center – Tana Darnell

“Tana Darnell is the secretary/administrative assistant in the Student Services Department.  It is absolutely a demanding position and she has handled it as a professional should.  She is one of the most unselfish members of our team and likely in the district. Being the Student Services assistant means that she is juggling many items at once from attendance, to discipline, to ESOL, to homebound, to health services, and the list literally goes on and on.   Though she has been with me for less than a year, I am so proud of her worth ethic and the way that she works tirelessly to get things completed.  She has a very positive attitude, a great sense of humor,  tact, and is very self-directed and motivated.  She arrives early and stays late though I ask her not to … She does whatever it takes to get the job done.  I cannot say enough about the extraordinary value that she brings to the position, to me as the Director of Student Services, and to the Student Services Department as a whole.  Mrs. Darnell, no doubt, deserves to be honored as an Unsung Hero.” — written by Dr. Jacqueline Jones


Exceptional Education Center – Judy Yawn

“You can’t say special education…or exceptional education without Judy Yawn.  Judy has served the district for 30 years. She has worked alongside four directors during her tenure with the Troup County School System. She moved from ISS on Roanoke Road to our EEC building in 2002.

Judy processes over 1,000 purchase orders annually, answers the phone (seems like 1,000 calls some days), and processes all personnel recommendation forms….and so many other tasks….all with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. Judy is truly the backbone of our department, if anyone needs to help with anything, Judy steps in without hesitation and without a complaint!

Judy is someone who prefers no recognition and embodies humbleness, hardwork and honesty. She’s at the office before anyone else in the morning and most days is one of the last ones remaining. It’s true that she never forgets one single detail in scheduling training, gently reminds us all of us of deadlines and knows where every single paperclip and ink cartridge is at all times!

Above and beyond her job duties, Judy remembers details about everyone’s lives because she cares that deeply to create a relationship with everyone at the office. She also has a serious sense of humor! We all love to hear her infectious laugh when we pull our office pranks!

Judy truly is our unsung hero – she neither expects nor seeks praise, she just considers her actions the right thing to do and we love her dearly for that.” — written by Kitty Crawford


Maintenance – Ray Foster

“Ray is the employee that every supervisor loves to have. He takes pride in his job and has sacrificed personal plans on multiple occasions (weekends as well) to make sure our facilities can function as they should without impacting our students’ daily activities. Ray does all of this without seeking any recognition and without any complaints. He is definitely an unsung hero in my opinion. — written by Mitchell Nasworthy


Nutrition – Diane Christein

“Diane is an extremely hard worker.  Even though she may be shorthanded, she does not ask for additional help.  She works harder and motivates her staff to pitch in to get the job accomplished. She will report how many staff shortages she has, but always says “no additional help is needed”.  By doing this, she knows that she will have to work harder to complete her job duties even though the job of Kitchen Manager is already a demanding job. But she does it without complaining and her work is always completed on time.  In addition, she serves beautifully prepared, quality meals to her students.  One of those meals was nominated for “Tray of the Week” by the State of Georgia earlier this year; she was one of five finalists for that week.  While her entree was not selected as the overall winner, it is an honor just to be selected from the numerous submissions they receive each week.” (Diane Christein works at Clearview Elementary as part of the nutrition staff.) — written by Diane Pain


Technology – Taylor Griffin

“Taylor always puts in 110%, while going above and beyond to help resolve issues as quickly as possible.  He has a positive attitude no matter what and is one of the first to volunteer when a team member needs help. Serving the technology needs of GNMS, ASC, Transportation, Maintenance, Environmental Services, and Nutrition he is constantly being pulled in multiple directions, never complains and greets everyone with a smile.” — written by Josh Moneypenny


Transportation — John Cook and Robert Carmichael

“The Callaway High School Greenpower team was coming back from Huntsville, AL in a TCSS box truck. They had a blowout in the front tire near Talladega. John and Robert left their house at 10:00 p.m. and drove two hours to the truck and repaired the tire so they could continue back home. They arrived back home Sunday morning at around 4:00 a.m. This is the email I received from Kyle Veatch, the GP coach from CHS:

Mr. Giles,

“I just wanted to express my appreciation for two of your shop staff for rescuing me this past Saturday night.  I was returning from the Toyota Classic Greenpower event in Huntsville, AL, and was transporting our cars and equipment in one of the box trucks.   I had the misfortune of having a flat tire on I-20 about 2 hours from Lagrange.  I called John Cook, and he and Robert Carmichael came out at midnight to take care of the flat tire and get me back on the road.

I am thankful that the transportation department has a process for dealing with issues that are after hours on a weekend, and I appreciate the quick response I got from John and Robert to get out to me as soon as they could.  Just wanted to make sure you were aware of the excellent response I got from John and Robert in my time of need.”

— written by Chip Giles