The faculty and staff at Richmond Hill Primary School surprised two of its employees last week when they named the Teacher of the Year and Paraprofessional of the Year awards for 2013-14.
First-grade teacher Shelia Hicks was named Teacher of the Year, while kindergarten paraprofessional Julie Schwier was named Paraprofessional of the Year.
Hicks, who has taught at RHPS for six years now, said she was shocked when her name was announced.
“I am excited and I know it’s a tough competition because we have a lot of good teachers at the school,” Hicks said. “I just appreciate the recognition because teaching is hard work and there are really not a lot of awards for teachers.”
Hicks said this is the first time she’s ever received a Teacher of the Year award from any school where she has taught. Her husband is retired from the Air Force, so she moved around a lot.
“With education you work really hard, so it is very nice to be recognized by peers and staff at the school,” she said.
Hicks said her favorite part of the job is working with children.
“(RHPS) is just a fun place to be,” she said. “When you’re around kids all day, it’s just fun — it’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun, too.”
Like Hicks, Schwier said she was also shocked when the announcement was made.
“I was honored and grateful,” she said. “It was nice to be recognized for all the hard work that we do.”
Schwier has worked for seven years now at RHPS. Her favorite part of the job is seeing the children grow during their time at the K-1 school.
“I love watching the kids grow,” she said. “They come in and some don’t even know their alphabet. And teaching them to read, and what I call seeing the light bulb that goes off at Christmas. They just go from babies to big kids.”
Teachers and paraprofessionals of the year awards are nominated and voted on by their peers. A systemwide Teacher of the Year will be chosen after awards are announced at all county schools.