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Teacher, support staffer of the year named

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, Marva Johnson, center, of Cluster Springs Elementary accepts the 2020 Teacher of the Year award from Superintendent Mark Lineburg. With them is CSES principal Kacey Whitt. Above, Sandra Oakes, center, school secretary at Sinai Elementary, receives the 2020 Excellence in Service award from Lineburg. With them is Sinai principal Francine David. / May 28, 2020
Halifax County Public Schools has named its 2020 teacher and support staff employee of the year despite having to cancel the annual banquet to recognize school employees.

The 2020 Teacher of the Year honor went to Marva Johnson of Cluster Springs Elementary. The Excellence in Service award, for non-teaching personnel, was presented to Sandra Oakes, longtime school secretary at Sinai Elementary School.

Johnson recently wrapped up her 42nd year as a teacher for Halifax County Public Schools. She began her career at Halifax County Junior High School, “when I was approached by Bristol Martin while working the jewelry counter at Leggett,” she said. “He said, I have a position for you and to come apply. The rest is history.”

Johnson has taught at many schools in the county, including the middle school, Cluster Springs Early Learning Center and Turbeville Elementary School. Presenting the honor to Johnson, Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg praised her efforts at Cluster Springs Elementary: “I’ll pop into your classroom, it’s fantastic — you keep the kids moving, they love playing together in the room. You’re a wonderful teacher.”

Johnson called the Teacher of the Year award “unexpected. I’m a team player, I think it’s an honor. It’s a lot of qualified and dynamic teachers in Halifax County who work hard for our kids.”

Each school named a teacher of the year, with each becoming finalists for the school division’s overall teacher of the year award. Aside from Johnson, school teachers of the year are: Victoria Worley at HCHS; Jacqueline Coleman at HCMS; Cynthia Cassada at Clays Mill Elementary; Stephanie Adams at Meadville; Erica Throckmorton at Scottsburg; Sandi Francis at Sinai; Charlotte Angel Trent at South Boston; Traci McKinney at Sydnor Jennings; and Ulisa Caddle at South Boston Early Learning Center.

The Excellent in Service award winner, Sandra Oakes, also is the recipient of 2020 school secretary honor. Other non-teaching personnel were recognized in the categories of school nurse, food service employee, paraprofessional and school custodian.

Of receiving the top award, Oakes said, “I’m humbled and surprised. I’m a small part of what goes on there. We have a lot great people at Sinai. It’s not all about me, it’s all about us as a team. Our school is fantastic with our great leader, [Principal] Francine Davis.”

The honorees in the other personnel areas were:

» Food service employee — Pam Jones, South Boston Elementary

» Paraprofessional — Norma Thaxton, South Boston Elementary

» School nurse — Pam Thomas, HCHS

» School custodian — Burrous Palmer, Cluster Springs Elementary

» Bus/Car Driver of the Year — Lawrence Ballou

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