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Meet top teacher, aide at RHES
rhes teacher and parapro of year
Richmond Hill Elementary School principal Walt Barnes (left with paraprofessional of the year Debbie Skinner, teacher of the year Marianne Zamjohn and assistant principal Verne Harris - photo by Photo provided.

Meet Marianne Zamjohn, the teacher of the year at Richmond Hill Elementary School
Congratulations on being named teacher of the year. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
 I started teaching full time in 2002 when my children were both in elementary school.  Prior to that, I stayed home raising my son and daughter and teaching preschool part time.  During that time, I received my masters in elementary education.  I started in third grade in upstate New York where I was born and raised.  This is my second year teaching third grade at RHES.
In 2007 our family moved to Richmond Hill after my husband was transferred with Target Corp.   My husband, Steve, and I have two children – Jennifer, 18, a senior at RHHS and Matthew, 15, a freshman at RHHS.

Why did you get into teaching?
Teaching has always been my passion.  I had some wonderful role models in elementary school and knew early on that I wanted to become an educator.  I can’t think of another career that is more rewarding.

Why are good teachers important?
Teachers have an awesome responsibility to help shape a child’s future.  Providing challenging learning experiences, helping form good habits, and instilling a love of learning are just part of that.  Good teachers are important because they impact children not only during the year they teach them but for years to follow.

Do you have a philosophy on teaching?
My philosophy is that all children have the potential to learn.  My expectations are high for every student who enters my classroom.  I meet the children where they are and help them meet their goals.  Every child has great contributions, and all children have challenges.  We don’t use the words “I can’t” in our classroom.  Instead, we say “I am having a difficult time...” or “With help I will be able to...”  With diligence and perseverance those challenges turn into “I can!”

Bryan County Schools have a reputation for excellence. Why do you think that is?
I believe it is a team effort.  Parents who are actively involved, supportive BOE and administrators, and hardworking teachers who have the best interest of the children in mind all play a part in the success of our school systerm.  This reputation stretches beyond our community.  This is evident by the number of people who move into the area with the schools in mind.

What is the hardest part of your job?
Time constraints are the most challenging part of my job.  There are so many things I want to do, but because time is not unlimited, I choose activities that are the most engaging, challenging, and relevant in real world situations.

What is the easiest part of your job?
The easiest part of my job is coming to work each day.  Each day is a new experience.  I am learning as much from the children as they are from me.  I have a genuine love of what I am doing, and I hope this shows and inspires my students to love what they are learning.

If you want to share the credit or give thanks to anyone for the award, you’re welcome to do so.
 I would like to thank all of my colleagues at RHES.  I am surrounded by hardworking, creative people who genuinely care about children.  I feel honored to represent this group of outstanding educators!


 Debbie Skinner, paraprofessional of year

 Meet Debbie Skinner, Richmond Hill Elementary School paraprofessional of the year.

Congratulations on being named paraprofessional of the year. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
This is my 18th year as a paraprofessional. I have a wonderful husband, two children, and three grandchildren. I enjoy designing floral arrangements, scrapbooking, genealogy, and Native American history.

How did you become a parapro?
I started as a parent volunteer at RHES. I found out that I really enjoyed helping the teachers and working with the kids. I talked to Mrs. Meeks  about a job and was hired  soon after that.

How do you define a parapro, i.e., what does a parapro do? And what makes a good parapro?
A parapro is a support person that assists the teacher and other staff members with any duties that need to be done to help keep the daily routine flowing. We also work one-on-one with students that need extra help to accomplish a skill that is necessary for them to be successful. A good parapro is someone that is willing to do what is required of them to make the children feel safe and cared about.

What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is not being able to spend as much time as needed in the classroom. We are short in numbers and short on time.

What is the easiest part of your job?
The easiest part of my job is loving the children.

What is it about Richmond Hill Elementary School that makes it special to you?

This is the school that I started off working as a parapro. I have seen a lot of changes and growth throughout the years and I have worked with some wonderful staff members. We have developed long lasting friendships.

Bryan County Schools have a reputation for excellence. Why do you think that is?
The entire school system loves and cares for their students and work hard at making sure that they are successful by giving them the help they need to learn.
If you want to share the credit or give thanks to anyone for the award, you’re welcome to do so.
I would like to thank all the staff at RHES for their support and  for choosing me to receive this award. I am so blessed to be working with such a great team.

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