May 24

Congratulations to Superintendent’s Star Award Winners for 2nd Semester

Congratulations to 25 division employees who have been named winners of the Superintendent’s Star Award for Second Semester 2016-17.  A recognition reception was held on Tuesday, May 23 at Creekside Elementary School.

Judges consider initiative, school spirit, creativity, commitment, and attitude to recognize those who are making a real difference in the lives of students.

Division-Wide Instructional Staff Award: 
Beth Langston
Fourth-Grade Teacher at Pioneer Elementary School

Division-Wide Support Staff Award:

Anita Reid
Teacher Assistant at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School


May winners sm

Beth Langston was nominated by parent Amber Vann, who called her a “gem to her students, a gem to her peers,” and a gem for Suffolk Public Schools.  She praised Langston’s energy, deep caring, and positive attitude when reaching students, boosting staff morale, and volunteering to improve family engagement.  In the nomination, Vann wrote how she notices “the little things the teacher does to make learning fun and rewarding. Not everyone takes the time to find crafts, incentives, and interactive ideas to make learning fun.” This extra effort often provides the hook to grab the attention of struggling students and to boost their confidence, leading to better grades, she said.  Langston was also applauded for heading the Community School Garden project, teaching her class about agriculture. The hands-on experience of planting, watering, measuring plants, note taking and understanding the importance of how food grows is providing students a wonderful cause-and-effect lesson. She is also Pioneer’s STEM 360 grant leader, working with the Virginia Air & Space Museum which provides classroom experiments in science and engineering, as well as a free field trip to the museum. Vann added: “Ms. Langston works very hard with children who need additional help and support through tutoring, but never shows frustration or attitude, and most certainly does not give up on them .You can tell she takes teaching very seriously and wants the best for all of her students.”


Anita Reid was nominated by fifth-grade teacher Natalie Karakla, who praised Reid’s positive attitude and work ethic.  Working with fifth-graders during reading lessons, Reid “comes in every day with a smile on her face and an uplifting demeanor.  She looks at kids as people and is always willing to put their feelings and needs before anything else.” Karakla recalled how even on dreary, rainy days greeting students as they get off buses in the morning, Ms. Reid demonstrates compassion.  Karakla said one day: “I could hear her greeting the students and laughing with them. The next thing I knew she was walking down the sidewalk holding her umbrella over a student so he and his breakfast wouldn’t get wet.  It is evident she enjoys her time with the kids, helping them, guiding them, teaching them, and most importantly providing comfort for them knowing they can rely on her.”


Support nominees smAdditional Support Staff Honorees

  • Nicole Barrett – Transportation Department bus driver
  • Vera Blakeney – Lakeland High School paraprofessional
  • Christine Bradshaw – Transportation Department bus driver
  • Erika Darden – Nansemond River High School paraprofessional
  • Reginald Darden – Transportation Department bus driver
  • Maurice Fofana – King’s Fork High School part-time coach
  • Bernadette Fraser – Northern Shores Elementary School paraprofessional
  • Mary Neville – Kilby Shores Elementary School head custodian
  • Lillian Willie – Booker T. Washington Elementary School long-term substitute teacher


Instructional nominees smAdditional Instructional Staff Honorees

  • Amy Blyth – Nansemond River High School teacher
  • Lynne Copeland – John Yeates Middle School teacher
  • Alice Cherrix – Creekside Elementary School teacher
  • Lori Cratsley – Forest Glen Middle School teacher
  • Laurie Curtis – John Yeates Middle School teacher
  • Lauren Ertekin – Lakeland High School teacher
  • Keshia Jones – John Yeates Middle School teacher
  • Michelle Mabrey – SPS nursing supervisor
  • Lisa Rath – Pioneer Elementary School assistant principal
  • Scott Reed – Lakeland High School teacher
  • Natalie Rotzler – Forest Glen Middle School teacher
  • Venus Usanga – Elephant’s Fork Elementary School teacher
  • Douglas Wagoner – Lakeland High School principal


The Superintendent’s Star Award program will continue in 2017-18. First semester nominations are due by December 15.  Second semester nominations are due by March 31.

Link here for details on the award program.

Link here for the NOMINATION FORM.