Assistants of the year honored at reception

2016 TAs of the Year

Assistant of the Year ceremony 2016

Good Afternoon everyone. Welcome to the 33rd Annual VBEA Assistant of the Year Awards Reception. My name is Trenace Riggs, President of the Virginia Beach Education Association. I am joined tonight by the Chair of the VBEA Teacher Assistant Steering Committee- Barbara Powell.

Before we begin I’d like to recognize some people who are in the audience today with us. 1st, our school board members, Chair Dan Edwards, Vice Chair Bev Anderson, Sharon Felton, Joel McDonald, Kim Melnyk, Carolyn Rye, and Ashley McLeod.

If you are a principal, please stand… thank you so much for being here.

VBEA Board members, please stand.

VBEA Building reps- please stand.

I want to thank the VBEA Office Administrator- Jimmy LaRoue for helping to put this reception together. I want to recognize VBEA’s UniServ Director, Shirley George.

Since 2008 VBCPS has been partnering with VBEA to honor the assistants of the Year for which we are very grateful. Today we are fortunate enough to have Dr. Aaron Spence with us to speak on behalf of the administration.

The VBEA started the Teacher Assistant of the Year award back in 1984 to honor the hard working teacher assistants at each and every school in Virginia Beach.

The role of the assistant in our school system expands every year, and each year our hard-working assistants step up. Many assistants go above and beyond even those increased demands, and we’d like to honor them here this afternoon. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the chair of the VBEA Teacher Assistant Steering Committee- Barbara Powell.

Thanks for the kind donations of several School Board members and others we are fortunate enough this year to provide something special to this reception. There will be 13 drawings called throughout the recognition of all of you today so make sure you listen up in case your name is called.

I would like to recognize our 2 city-wide Teacher Assistants with a $50 Captain George’s gift certificate provided by Kim Melynk and a $50 Ruth Chris gift certificate provided by Carolyn Rye.

The following are the remarks given on behalf of each citywide winner.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Trenace Riggs, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association, and it is my honor to present this year’s two recipients of the 2016 Citywide Assistants of the Year award for elementary and secondary schools here in Virginia Beach.

The Assistant of the Year award has been given yearly since 1994 as a way to honor the often underappreciated and significant work you do in support of the outstanding Virginia Beach City Public School system. The Teacher Assistant steering committee believes the Assistant of the Year should be someone who not only has performed the job in an exemplary manner and is active in his or her school, but also is someone who goes out of his or her way to do something extra to help students, the school, and educators in their building while continuing to become a better assistant.

This year we received a record number of nomination forms, and it made the job of the committee an especially tough one. Our assistants have distinguished themselves for their professional and above-and-beyond approach to doing their jobs.

Still, our elementary and secondary school honorees stood out among an outstanding group.

Our elementary honoree has been a school teacher assistant of the year for the third time. This person developed a school-wide spirit week which improved morale and directed a school play to introduce the school’s new leadership and behavior initiative. This person also led the school’s holiday letter writing campaign for military troop units deployed for the holidays, led the school’s Operation Smile and Student United Way campaigns (helping raise more than $5,000 combined for the two organizations) and directed a school play.

This person has helped out the faculty through ongoing collaboration with fourth and fifth grade inclusion teachers, the upper grade special education teacher, and developed differentiated small group reading lessons for both fourth and fifth grade levels for special education faculty use. This person has been a “Go-To-Gal” for technology and social media use in the classroom, has been an SOL tutor and an advisor to the Student Council Association. These are just a few of her many accomplishments and accolades at her school.

Students at her school describe her as supportive and patient. Said one student: “I recently auditioned for the … talent show and my group messed up. Instead of making us feel bad, she helped us see what we could do well and make it better. … She has given me so many reasons to look up to her.”

Her principal describes her as a natural leader who possesses kindness and patience when dealing with struggling students. “She is extremely organized and arrives to class prepared to teach. Her students absolutely adore her and her enthusiasm. … She assists whenever and wherever we have a need within the school. I know that I can always count on her to not only complete a task, but to complete the task with excellence. (She) is not only an invaluable staff member (for our school) but an asset for the entire school system and would be a perfect representative as the 2016 Assistant of the Year.

Our committee agreed. Ladies and gentlemen, it is our honor to present the 2016 Elementary Assistant of the Year award to Ms. Laura Nuckols of Red Mill Elementary School.


Our secondary school honoree has also been a school-wide assistant of the year for the third time. A security assistant, this person works to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty and staff, is the school’s intramural coordinator and is responsible for organizing the school’s crisis management team during drills or during an actual emergency.

This person wears many hats. As the transportation coordinator, this person arranges buses for field trips and daily activity bus runs, has structured the afterschool security program and developed detailed turn-by-turn notebooks for bus drivers, making things easier and efficient for substitutes and first-timers alike.

He is described by those at his school as a huge asset to the security team. His school’s students activities coordinator says of him: “We often say we don’t know what we would do without a specific person. When I say that about (this person), I mean every word of it. I don’t know what any of us would do without him.”

He has also developed a positive relationship with students and staff at his school, helping chaperone and facilitate transportation for after school dances, is active in the SCA, assists the school’s student activity coordinator in after school activities and is active in fundraising for clubs and grade levels.

Besides his many accomplishments in school, he spends much of his free time as a committee member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 471, and he also volunteers at the Norfolk Scope.

Said his school’s assistant principal: “He is a natural leader. I have been impressed by his passion for creating and maintaining a safe environment for our students. (His) professionalism, enthusiasm and caring demeanor makes him an exceptional candidate for Assistant of the Year.

It is our honor to present the 2016 Secondary Assistant of the Year award to Mr. Michael Baker of Larkspur Middle School.


Here are the assistants of the year from each school:

Tonya Snow – Adult Learning Center
Sandra Willie – Alanton Elementary
Susan Brewington – Arrowhead Elementary
Eve Stocks – Bayside Elementary
Michele Parker – Bayside High
Melvin Francis – Bayside Middle
Carol Wilson – Bayside Sixth Grade Campus
Gail Hinson – Birdneck Elementary
Brandon Miner – Brandon Middle
Shannon Perry – Brookwood Elementary
Lori S. Pack – Centerville Elementary
Deborah Meer – Christopher Farms Elementary
Lasheva M. Cooper – College Park Elementary
Bobbi Creekmore –  Cooke Elementary
Danica Turk – Corporate Landing Elementary
Anthony Wilkins, Jr. – Corporate Landing Middle
Lisa Williams – Cox High
Jessica Barbour – Creeds Elementary
Deborah Layne Smith – Dey Elementary
Karen Farquer – Diamond Springs Elementary
Amy Phocas – Fairfield Elementary
Julianne G. Simonic – First Colonial High
Dorothy A. Myers – Glenwood Elementary
Laura German – Great Neck Middle
Georgina Sabatini – Green Run Elementary
Barbara DeMarais – Green Run High
Shane Whitney – Hermitage Elementary
Elizabeth Bricker – Holland Elementary
Dennis Richardson – Independence Middle
Jessica Tate – Indian Lakes Elementary
Gregory A. Polhemus – Kellam High
Mark Parr – Kemps Landing/Old Donation School
Amy Mackiewicz –  Kempsville Elementary
Richanne Sensenig – Kempsville High
Gracie H. Drake – Kempsville Meadows Elementary
Sabrina Conner – Kempsville Middle
Karen Zidow – Kings Grant Elementary
Denise Auman – Kingston Elementary
Michele Browne – Landstown Elementary
Shelly Blanshan – Landstown High
Andria Levine – Landstown Middle
Michael Baker – Larkspur Middle
Deborah Shugrue – Linkhorn Park Elementary
Jeanette Lindsay-Pickett – Luxford Elementary
Tracy Bly – Lynnhaven Elementary
Vivienne Marlowe – Lynnhaven Middle
Gloria Smith – Malibu Elementary
Ashley Miller – New Castle Elementary
Juliann Slayton – Newtown Elementary
Tanna Jones – North Landing Elementary
Barbara Miller – Ocean Lakes Elementary
Corey Sullivan – Ocean Lakes High
Michael Carden – Parkway Elementary
Tempall Gregory – Pembroke Elementary
Susan Lee – Pembroke Meadows Elementary
Natalia Korsh – Plaza Middle
Carly Holton – Point O’View Elementary
Cheryl Incandela – Princess Anne Elementary
Sandra Kofa – Princess Anne High
Naomi Riddick – Princess Anne Middle
Lisa Ziegler – Providence Elementary
Laura M. Nuckols – Red Mill Elementary
Jazette Williams – Renaissance Academy
Christopher Gilbert – Rosemont Elementary
Nicole Farley – Rosemont Forest Elementary
Annette Spaven – Salem Elementary
John Byzewski – Salem High
Lars Eisenbraun – Salem Middle
Michael Hollingsworth – Seatack Elementary
Jill Robinson – Shelton Park Elementary
Theresa Zaller – Special Education Annex
Takera Etheridge – Strawbridge Elementary
Melissa Duff – Tallwood Elementary
LaToya V. Conyers-Lew – Tallwood High
Pricilla Anthony –  Technical & Career Center
Brenda Brocki – Thalia Elementary
Sondra Rosequist – Thoroughgood Elementary
Lori Wharton – Three Oaks Elementary
Hope Twine – Trantwood Elementary
Jennifer Fowler – Virginia Beach Middle
Sandra Caldwell – White Oaks Elementary
Katherine Stegina – Windsor Oaks Elementary
Rebecca Hughes – Windsor Woods Elementary
Sherry Singer – Woodstock Elementary