The Beaufort County School District named Okatie Elementary School data specialist Lisa Nelson its Support Person of the Year at a recognition breakfast Thursday.
Nelson was one of five finalists chosen from 30 school nominees, based on their applications and interviews with judges. The other four finalists were:
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"Ms. Nelson and our other nominees demonstrate every day how vitally important support staff are in day-to-day school operations," acting superintendent Jackie Rosswurm said in a news release. "For teachers to be effective in their classrooms, they have to have topnotch professional support from social workers, school nurses, bookkeepers, office managers, teacher assistants, school secretaries, and technology and data specialists."
As a data specialist, Nelson coordinates her school's student database, which includes attendance and academic records. Praised as meticulous and accurate, Nelson also has worked on a committee to develop districtwide procedures and best practices for data specialists.
She has worked for eight years in two district elementary schools after serving as a parent volunteer for several years and as a PTO officer.
She has also been active with the Hilton Head Youth Orchestra, the Hilton Head Humane Society, the Palmetto Animal League and her church's youth programs.
"I'm proud of the work I do each day at Okatie Elementary and equally proud to represent all of the dedicated classified staff members throughout the district," Nelson said in the release.
Okatie Elementary principal Jamie Pinckney said she was not surprised when Nelson's name was announced.
"She's been an outstanding 'Okie Owl' for the past seven years, who does her job well but also does so much more," Pinckney said.
Nelson received a $100 gas card from Parker's convenience stores, which sponsored the breakfast.
The 30 nominees for the district's 2013 "Support Personnel of the Year" were:
Battery Creek High: Cecelia Cain, media assistant
Beaufort High: Kathy Walker, administrative assistant
Bluffton High: Kari Grunder, data specialist
Hilton Head High: John Quindlen, VPAC theater manager
Whale Branch High: Larry Martin, hall monitor
Beaufort Middle: Willie Mae Hampton, special education assistant
Bluffton Middle: Donna Perkins, administrative support
H.E. McCracken Middle: Michael Viscovitch, administrative support
Hilton Head Middle: Darlene Binkley, special education assistant
Lady's Island Middle: Kathy Holmes, guidance clerk
Robert Smalls Middle: Helen Yates, media assistant
Whale Branch Middle: Deborah Connelly, office manager
Beaufort Elementary: Pam Caldwell, special education assistant
Bluffton Elementary: Theresa Ball, media assistant
Broad River Elementary: Ulysses Black, maintenance
Coosa Elementary: Beverly Brown, kindergarten assistant
Hilton Head Elementary: Viviana Sheeran, media assistant
Hilton Head E.C. Center: Carol Bolgan, media assistant
Hilton Head SCA: Kathleen Eways, office manager
Lady's Island Elementary: Carla Kinsey, pre-K teacher assistant
M.C. Riley Elementary: Brenda Sigler, administrative assistant
Mossy Oaks Elementary: Donna Coxwell, special education assistant
Okatie Elementary: Lisa Nelson, data specialist
Port Royal Elementary: Amanda Emery, computer lab assistant
Pritchardville Elementary: Kami Branham, office manager
Red Cedar Elementary: Francine Ciavolino, bookkeeper
Shanklin Elementary: Erin Everette-Parler, parent liaison
St. Helena Elementary: Lucille Gadson, parent liaison
Whale Branch Elementary: Paul Jones, maintenance
Davis E.C. Center: Paul Jones, maintenance
District Office: Angie Lopatka, program manager
Bus Driver of the Year: Julia Powell, bus driver
Beaufort/Jasper Academy: Debra Daley, student services coordinator