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The Oklahoman

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Support staff brings enormous value to Oklahoma City Public Schools

There has been a lot of talk about school support staff during the recent teacher walkout and a nominal pay increase was given by the legislature. Teachers have been vocal about how important these team members are to their classrooms, though they largely stay out of the spotlight.

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools will be highlighting three “Super Support Staff” at the upcoming Stars of Education/Teacher of the Year awards presentation on May 1. They will each receive a cash prize, but more than that they will receive some well-deserved recognition and thanks for the value they bring to students every day.

Cindy Morey is a Pre-K Assistant at Britton Elementary School. She has been in her role for 6½ years. Her children attended Britton and her grandchildren attend the school now, so she has been part of the fabric of the school for many years. Principal Rhonda Hamilton says in her nomination that Morey does so much more than assist the Pre-K class. She coordinates the Backpack Buddies program, which provides food to students to take home. She delivers backpacks to students who are absent and makes sure they are prepared early in case of inclement weather. She assists with cafeteria duty and is very conscious to give students an extra tray if they haven't eaten the night before. Morey has relationships with students and their families. She is very humble and shares with everyone that she does her work for the children.

Clara Maynard has worked in Food Service at Quail Creek Elementary School for 21 years. Principal Jan Matthews counts on Maynard for creating a climate of mutual respect and trust. She is described as having a heart for children. She welcomes the students each morning with kind words and a smile and that interaction sets the tone for the entire day. She prepares healthy snacks for after school programs and makes small baggies of ice for use if a child gets hurt. She trains new workers to not only be excellent in the cafeteria but to be responsive to children in a positive way. Her high standards for cleanliness and promoting healthy lifestyles have become part of the culture at Quail Springs Elementary School.

Terrie Cross is the Financial Secretary for Southeast High School and has been with OKCPS for 18 years. She is a product of Oklahoma City Public Schools and is a graduate of Douglass High School. Cross, like the other highlighted support staff, goes above and beyond her job duties every single day. During the illness and loss of the Principal's secretary, Shirley Childers, Cross stepped in to pick up the majority of the slack without missing a beat. She handles all the orders for school activities, plans staff appreciation functions and works late for games, dances, etc. Principal Mylissa Hall describes her as, “my super glue” and feels honored to work with her.

These three individuals represent 1,500 support staff working in Oklahoma City Public Schools. The value they bring, for very little pay, is enormous. Understanding what teachers are fighting for is priceless.

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