Wayne County Public Schools announced its volunteer of the year Thursday afternoon, recognized three outstanding Partners in Education and introduced a new award in honor of a veteran educator.
Volunteer of the Year Teri Johnson invested more than 200 hours at Eastern Wayne High School through beautification efforts, fundraising support and personal donations, said Ken Derksen, communications director for the district.
"(She) has often been seen painting windows and doors and has even painted over 100 poles that hold up sidewalk awnings," he said at the annual volunteer reception at North Drive Elementary School.
He said she had also coordinated teams of volunteers to clean up the school gym and locker rooms and worked with student groups to paint areas of the campus on Saturdays. She had also single-handedly built a brick retaining wall, assisted in fundraising projects and organized one of the Parent Teacher Support Group's largest fundraisers, a golf tournament.
The mother of three sons, all graduates of EWHS -- Robert Garner, 2006, now lives in Colorado; Brandon Johnson, 2014, is at East Carolina University; and Brock Johnson finished his studies in January -- said she just wanted to make the school better.
She said it was a conversation with the school's principal, Lee Johnson, followed by a tour of the school, that prompted her to be part of the solution.
Teri, who along with her husband, Kevin Johnson, are retired military, said she had lots of help.
"But if it wasn't for her leading the charge, calling people and asking for help, it would never have happened," Lee Johnson said. "It takes a leader to make it happen."
Jessica Lawrence, chairman of the Partners in Education committee, recognized recipients of three awards.
Since 1995, the PIE program has allowed businesses and organizations to partner with schools by donating time, expertise, materials and funds, she said. The district has about 175 organizations and businesses supporting the 32 schools.
The awards are given in three categories -- small, having between one and 15 members or employees; medium, 15 to 50 members; and large, more than 50.
Recipient in the small category was Buck's Fire Extinguisher, nominated by Northeast Elementary School, for such efforts as donating to raise money for a security system and holding fire extinguisher trainings at the school.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church was honored in the medium category, nominated by Dillard Middle School for keeping a clothes closet at the school, mentoring sixth-grade girls and helping families after Hurricane Matthew.
Providence United Methodist Church received the large category award, nominated by Grantham Elementary for leading a "Backpack Buddy" program providing food for students on weekends, tutoring students and providing toys and food during the holidays.
A new award was introduced in honor of Olivia Pierce, formerly executive director for information and technology services, who oversaw and built the PIE program before retiring in 2013.
First recipient of the Olivia Whitfield Pierce Distinguished Partner Award, to be given to a business or organization donating five or more years in support of a school, was St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, nominated by Dillard Middle School. Since 2010, the church has held a back-to-school luncheon, provided food and school supplies, mentored students and fulfilled wish lists for classroom needs.
Volunteers of the year at individual school include the following:
Brogden Middle: Karen Barkhurst
Brogden Primary: Latorsha Carr
Carver Elementary: Ginger Waller
Carver Height Elementary: Shelby Benton
Charles B. Aycock High: Tangela Faulkner
Dillard Middle: Deacon Rebecca Bean
Eastern Wayne Elementary: Kate Snodgress
Eastern Wayne Middle: Paige Nunn
Edgewood Community Developmental Community: Terry Daily
Fremont STARS Elementary: Tamara Munoz
Goldsboro High: Ravonda Jacobs
Grantham Elementary: Johnnie Casey
Grantham Middle: Kristal Bennett
Greenwood Middle: Shanyua Moore
Meadow Lane Elementary: Rev. Colby Leonard
Mount Olive Middle: Linda Blokland
North Drive Elementary: Virginia Brown
Northeast Elementary: Bob Julian
Northwest Elementary: Mache Harvey
Norwayne Middle: Shelley Radford
Rosewood Elementary: Cliff Grice
Rosewood High: Sherry Jones
Rosewood Middle: Scott Albert
Southern Wayne High: Kristal Jones
Spring Creek Elementary: Vicky Griffin
Spring Creek High: William O'Hara
Spring Creek Middle: Jonathan Hardison
Tommy's Road Elementary: Megan Graham
Wayne Early/Middle College: Angelia Jones
Wayne Middle High School Academy: Mya Cox
Wayne School of Engineering: Taylor Meig.