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Award Winners

October Stellar Employee of the Month - John Norman

Mr. John Norman, Lincoln Park Primary Head Custodian


Mr. John Norman has been with the Escambia County School District for 30 years and is in the first year at Lincoln Park as Head Custodian.

From the nomination:

“He is not only stellar, but stupendous, hard-working, kind and embodies what our district is all about.  He came to our school for the first time this summer.  Since Lincoln Park hosted summer school he was pressed to get the building in shape before the students returned.  Everyone on staff thought the floors were beige.  After endless hours of back-breaking work, he stripped 12 to 15 layers of built up wax to reveal that our school actually had WHITE floors!  He worked diligently to complete this overwhelming task.”

“We all strive to make our schools a place where everyone wants to work and our students want to learn.  Mr. Norman has single handedly transformed Lincoln Park into a sparkling place.  Windows, 12 feet off the ground that have never been washed are shining.  Everyone’s faces are also shining because Mr. Norman is so willing to help and has such a pleasant personality.  He will drop whatever he is doing to assist anyone who needs his help.  He is willing to stay late after parent functions to have the school ready for students the next morning and comes in on the weekend if the need arises.”

For Over 30 years, Mr. Norman has dedicated his life to making our schools a pleasant place for our students, teachers, parents and staff.  You never see him without a smile.  He puts a smile on everyone’s face who has the fortune to know him.  The pride he takes in his work is exemplified in everything he does.  Every day he strives to do his best as if it is his first day!

Lincoln Park feels blessed to have “Mr. John” as part of their team.

Congratulations, John Norman.  For upholding the pillars of People and Service, he is truly Stellar. 

Mr. Norman received a plaque, a pin and a check from Member’s First Credit Union.  IMG_8800_1.JPG

September Stellar Employee of the Month 2016

September Stellar Employee of the Month, Charlie Freeman


Charlie is a Carpenter in the Maintenance Department and has been with the district in this role for ten years.  He works at Scenic Heights Elementary.


From his nomination:

“When we think of recognizing one employee for his stellar performance, Charlie Freeman is the employee the staff at Scenic Heights want to recognize.  He is a breath of fresh air, always smiling, pleasant to be around and a very hard worker.”


He is always willing to lend a helping hand and will come to the aid of anyone needing help.  During preplanning, he was quick to help out when he saw teachers struggling with a large load of trash.  He not only helped, but took it to the dumpster and unloaded it for them.  He will stop what he is doing and go out of his way to help.

The principal also states, “We admire his ingenuity.  While installing a smart board in a classroom, Charlie custom made a stand for the children so the little ones could reach the smart board.  The stand was something he saw a need for and made without being asked.”

At Christmas time each year, Charlie takes roses to the office personnel; a thoughtful act that puts a smile on everyone’s face in the office.

“Charlie Freeman makes our jobs better and our days brighter just by being who he is.”

Congratulations, Charlie.  For upholding the pillars of People & Service, you are truly Stellar.

Charlie will receive a plaque, a pen and a check for $100 from Members First Credit Union.IMG_3228.JPG

March Stellar Employee of the Month: Cheryl Brown - Lincoln Park Primary

     Congratulations to Cheryl Brown, a school bus operator.  Cheryl has been with the district for 9 years and in her current role for 3 years.

     Cheryl is a school bus operator for Lincoln Park Primary School and she compounds her bus at McArthur Elementary.  We she arrives at her bus compound site in the morning, she checks every bus to see if there are noticeable issues that will delay them on their routes.  On cold days, she starts them all herself to ensure everyone’s day get started on time and that students are able to board warm buses in the morning.  When other bus operators are pressed for time and they need help transporting students, Cheryl is often the one who answers the call.

     Care and empathy run deeply in Cheryl. Most of her Lincoln Park students are ESE Pre-K students, and before the first day of the school year, she takes the initiative to personally meet every parent and child in order to be sure her students’ first day of school does not begin with a stranger. When she gets her students to school, she often walks with them to breakfast so she can be there to see them get the fuel they need for a successful day in class. Then, she goes another extra mile as she often volunteers to go on field trips with her Pre-K students. This year, Cheryl went even further and bought every child on her school bus a Christmas gift. She was so excited about giving her students the gifts this year that she couldn’t wait until the last day of school to give them out.

     Cheryl’s generosity and humanitarianism reaches far and wide, and her sense of empathy reflects the experiences of a person who has known great hardship and loss. In addition to the love and care she shows to her students, she has stepped up to help her fellow bus operators when they need to move, need help with the power bill, need a place to live, or need personal transportation.

     Exemplifying the pillars of service and people, Cheryl Brown is precisely the kind of person every parent wants caring for their children and the kind of person every employee wants as a co-worker and friend. Her generous and caring nature is embedded deeply in her character and is part of what makes her an invaluable asset to the Transportation Department and the Escambia County School District.

February Stellar Employee of the Month: Catherine Born - Escambia Westgate

     Catherine Born has been a dedicated teacher assistant for children with special needs at Escambia Westgate for 17 years.  From the beginning, she has shared patience, kindness and determination with the students and staff.  Catherine treats the children and staff with respect and compassion. 

     She provides extra loving care helping children transition through activities.  She spends her time patiently feeding students, and facilitating their participation in the curriculum as well as occupational, physical and speech therapy sessions.  Catherine always goes the extra mile to make sure that the child’s environment optimizes his/her success at school.

     Catherine has worked tirelessly in the community and with Westgate to provide experiences and activities for the special children at Westgate.  One particular project was to develop a trail that the students and staff could use in the woods behind the school.  She has forged relationships with many organizations to garner support for the school.  She works tirelessly to make Westgate a better school.

    Catherine Born is a Stellar Employee.  She makes outstanding efforts in her job to benefit her coworkers, students and community.


Congratulations, Catherine, and thank you for your service.

January Stellar Employee of the Month: Susan Jennings - Blue Angel Elementary

Miss Jennings has been with the District for 19 years and at Blue Angels for over 10 years.


     Susan is a wonderful custodian and does an amazing job, and for the past few years, she has been doing the jobs of two people.  In addition to her custodial duties, she runs copies for the entire school.  When an employee had surgery and did not return, Miss Susan stepped in and took charge of the copy room without skipping a beat.

     According to a co-worker, Miss Susan is a “quiet soldier” that arrives to work before the rooster crows.  She often stays after dismissal making copies so that the student and staff will have what they need.  She is descried as quiet, but a powerful influence at Blue Angels. Her positive attitude and sweet smile are a welcome site.

     Many of the staff members see Miss Susan, not as a co-worker, but also a friend.  She is a team player and quick to do things outside the scope of her job description.  She is known for a great work ethic, and cheerfully cleans up the worst of messes.  A teacher also reported that her portable was cold in the mornings when the students arrived, so Miss Susan came in early to turn on the heat so that it would be warm for the children. 

     There are countless examples of Stellar performance by Miss Jennings.  She is, “a rare jewel” and Blue Angels Elementary is proud to nominate her for Stellar employee of the month.


Miss Jennings will receive a plaque, a pin and a check presented by Members First Credit Union.

December Stellar Employee for: Aurelia Montanez, Crew Supervisor - Bailey Middle School


     Aurelia Montanez is one of the most positive, encouraging people employed here in "Bulldog Country." A powerhouse of kinetic energy and boundless enthusiasm, Aurelia treats everyone with love and respect. Standing all of five feet in height and weighing barely more than a feather, Aurelia is in constant, productive motion, smiling at everyone, greeting each while still moving and doing, transforming such a large campus with so many areas to keep clean and in working order seem more like a family tree with many healthy, vibrant branches.


     Aurelia's contributions to the Bailey family have changed over the past 12 years as circumstances in her own life presented challenges that some people would see as barriers, but through her determination and dedication, Aurelia found opportunities. Prior to being employed by the District, Aurelia's husband and father to their two little girls, went into the hospital for a routine procedure and never came back to their beautiful life together. Aurelia never imagined she would be a young widow with two young girls to raise living so far from her family in Puerto Rico. Undaunted and with a love of children facing their own challenges, Aurelia began working at Bailey as a paraprofessional assisting teachers with exceptional children. Parents, children, and teachers were all inspired by Aurelia's dedication and ability to break down difficult academic skills into manageable parts, all the while making children feel loved and cared for. Daily, she was Mother Goose leading her goslings to lunch. Literally leading and leading by example she quietly encouraged empathy and understanding to more academically and physically able children and adults.


     Circumstances in 2005 led to an unexpected change as Aurelia transferred from being a beloved teaching paraprofessional to custodian where her work ethic and positive attitude were clearly evident.  She worked as part of the custodian team from 2005 until 2014 when Bailey's head custodian was overcome by a sudden and serious illness. Making the transition from team member to their supervisor was definitely a challenge, but one which Aurelia's leadership skills and the mutual respect she had gained made her a natural supervisor. Her willingness to work harder than anyone else has served her well as the "boss." Aurelia never asks a custodian to perform a task she has not completed in the past. Her organization skills are natural, effective and reflect her remarkable work ethic, ever the perfect example of "on the job" training. It is certainly not easy to go from being a valued team player to being elevated due to emergency, then permanent supervisor. Aurelia' s infectious positivity and unparalleled dedication to  her work  all contribute to  her being Bailey's Stellar  Employee.

November Stellar Employee of the Month: Forrestine Lawrence - Monclair Elementary



     Forrestine or “Stine” has been with Escambia County School District for 21 years, the past six as the Data Specialist at Montclair Elementary School.  She was nominated because she is very hard working and ALWAYS has a positive attitude and an encouraging word to share with employees, students, and parents.  She is a supportive resource and friend to everyone she meets.

     According to her Principal, Forrestine works the longest amount of hours of any Data Specialist she has ever met.  She leaves most days late in the evening between 5:00 and 8:30 p.m.  She wants to make sure the work gets done and will do whatever it takes to get it done.  She never, ever complains about anything even when things are difficult.  She plows through the challenges and finds a way to finish in a timely manner. 

     Forrestine has served as the ESP Union Representative and has served on the School Advisory Committee to show her support at Montclair.

     Her patience level is incredible.  She is a welcome calm to everyone she meets.  She loves the children and talks to them about their behavior choices when she has the opportunity.  Her strong faith is evident in everything she does and says.  She is a light and a calm to many people who enter her school. 

Forrestine Lawrence is a Super Stellar Employee and friend to all!

Thank you, Forrestine!

October Stellar Employee: Ricky Neuman