ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FL – Superintendent E. Wayne Gent accompanied by members of the School Board, Education Foundation, and others paid surprise visits to this year’s finalists for School Related Employee of the Year (SREY). Dorothy Hall, a paraprofessional at C. A. Moore Elementary (CAM), Susan Helms-Smith, a bookkeeper at St. Lucie West Centennial High School (SLWCHS), and Kim Neilson, a clerk at Port St. Lucie High School (PSLHS) are the finalists who have the distinction of representing the School District at this year’s Night of the Stars gala.
“The SREY finalists represent the outstanding services our support staff provide to the District. Their commitment and contribution is important to the overall success of our students,” said Gent.
Honoring school related employees is a program that is supported by the Florida Department of Education in which outstanding education support personnel are recognized for the significant impact they make on their schools and district school systems. Locally, one individual will be selected to represent SLPS at the state level during the Night of the Stars scheduled for February 9, 2019.
About the Finalists
Dorothy Hall is a key individual at CAM. As a paraprofessional, she works very closely with the faculty, staff, and students. In the two years she has served in this role, she has proven herself to be committed and compassionate. Hall has many duties and responsibilities including assisting with classroom activities, providing one-on-one tutorials, and supporting activities on campus. However, she spreads her influence by contributing to the 21st Century Afterschool Program and the community by serving as a mentor to a group of girls ranging in age from 5 to 18. She also dedicates time to volunteering in Sarah’s Kitchen as a means of helping to feed and clothe individuals in need.
Susan Helms-Smith is efficient and organized, but to her colleagues she is much more. This 21-year veteran employee is appreciated for the spirit and energy she brings to any task. Students and adults alike see her as the go-to person when help is needed. As the school’s bookkeeper, Helms-Smith keeps departments, clubs, and the school at large running smoothly and efficiently. She can handle the numerous demands on her time with grace and always with a smile. She is happy to organize special events on campus and volunteer in the community as well. She does all of this to advocate for students’ successes and to demonstrate pride in her community.
Kim Neilson, is the 9th grade clerk for PSLHS’s Jaguar Preparatory Academy. She has served the school for 14 of her 20 years with the District and is deeply committed to the high school, its staff, and students. People see her as the “face of the office” and appreciate her warm personality as well as her can-do attitude. Neilson assumes many roles in which her outstanding organizational skills are beneficial. She spearheads honor roll recognitions, community events, and makes certain that the office runs smoothly. She values the chance she has to support not only incoming freshmen, but the hundreds of returning students each year as they complete their high school careers on the PSLHS campus.