Three instructional assistants with Wayne County Public Schools have been selected as finalists in the running for the distinction of being 2017 Instructional Assistant of the Year.

The district program, modeled after the Teacher of the Year, highlights the top instructional assistants across the county. Each school selects a representative for the coming year.

Candidates submit a professional portfolio and go through an interview with a selection committee.

The field is then narrowed down to three finalists.

The Instructional Assistant of the Year for the district will be announced at a reception at the WPCS administrative offices on May 2 at 2:30 p.m.

The three finalists are Sarah Robinson of Eastern Wayne elementary and middle schools, Susie Chase of Charles B. Aycock High School and Barbara Lofton of Spring Creek High School.

Ms. Robinson is a media assistant who has been employed by the district for 17 years. She has worked at Eastern Wayne Middle for the past four years.

"Sarah Robinson is one of the hardest working individuals I know," said Catherine Fulcher, Eastern Wayne Middle principal. "In addition to her shared media assistant duties, she is one of our curriculum enhancement teachers, where she instructs, remediates and enhances in the learning of her students each day in the area of mathematics.

"Each school needs a Sarah Robinson."

Mrs. Chase has been at her school for more than 14 years.

CBA principal Dr. Earl Moore applauded her dedication to serving special needs students.

"She uses innovative and creative methods to make learning applicable to students' everyday life," he said. "Her students revere and respect her.

"Mrs. Chase is the type of instructional assistant that every principal would want to have in his or her school."

Ms. Lofton has 12 years of service in the district. She has been at Spring Creek since 2010.

"Ms. Lofton is very dependable and does an admirable job with the special needs students enrolled in our Occupational Course of Study program," said her principal, Stephen Clingan. "She has a great demeanor toward our students and directly impacts the quality of their education in her role."

Other individual instructional assistants and their respective schools include the following:

Brogden Middle: Makita Brown-Jones

Brogden Primary: Michelle Vinson

Carver Elementary: Charlette Purnell

Carver Heights Elementary: Cherry Townsend

Dillard Middle: Geraldine Miller

Eastern Wayne Elementary: Debbie Denton

Eastern Wayne High: Scott Summers

Edgewood Community Developmental School: Elizabeth Dunn

Fremont STARS Elementary: Shirley Staton

Grantham Elementary: Holly Denning

Grantham Middle: Sonya Thomas Wingate

Greenwood Middle: Diwanda Hutchins

Meadow Lane Elementary: David Williams

Mount Olive Middle: Tammy Farrior

North Drive Elementary: Terry Smith

Northeast Elementary: Barbara Smith

Northwest Elementary: Cecilia Prezbindowski

Norwayne Middle: Olisha White

Rosewood Elementary: Dana Gurley

Rosewood High: Carmellas Yelverton

Rosewood Middle: Angie Bridgers

School Street Early Learning Center: Hannah Edwards

Southern Wayne High: Matilda Gardner

Spring Creek Elementary: Terrie Taylor

Tommy's Road Elementary: Ashley Presson

Wayne Middle/High Academy: Louise Cox.