Congratulations to our STAR Award winners for the month of October!

The STAR Awards program recognizes support employees who go above and beyond the call of duty in performing their job responsibilities.

Nominees are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Made significant contributions improving job efficiency, quality of services, safety or conserving resources
  • Performed a humanitarian or heroic act
  • Responded proactively by anticipating needs and solving problems without specific direction

Arbutus Elementary: Darlene Christopher, Paraeducator

Darlene has served the Arbutus Elementary School community on so many levels and for so many years that she is truly worthy of recognition for her continuous, giving service. She tutors students, plays reading games with them and cheers them on in a big way during testing. She heads up many of the school’s committees and plans a volunteer banquet every year. Darlene Christopher embodies kindness and is “the glue that keeps everyone together” at Arbutus Elementary.

Deer Park Elementary: Jim Slayton, Nurse

Jim Slayton is not only a nurse at Deer Park Elementary. In addition to his nursing duties, Jim is always ready to contribute more to the school community.  He is a part of the Behavior Intervention Team and the Social Committee. In addition, Jim has searched community resources to find businesses and associations who are willing to help school families in need and has helped parents get eyeglasses and medical help for free. Jim is proactive about getting into classrooms to educate our students in areas such as hygiene, being diabetic and food allergies. Not only does he work wonderfully with Deer Park staff, he opens his office up to nursing students. He is always looking for ways to give each staff member a boost. He often leaves little surprises like special quotes that he has cut out on people’s doors.

Dogwood ES: Uzma Ata, Additional Assistant

 In her duty as a kindergarten helper, Ms. Ata was monitoring children during lunch in the cafeteria. At one table of students, children were talking and laughing. She noticed that one child was not laughing with the others. She went over to him, bent over and asked him if he could breathe. The student shook his head no. Ms. Ata immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver. As soon as she did this, food was ejected from the student’s airway, and he was able to breathe. In the noisy, busy environment of the cafeteria, Mrs. Ata was keenly observant and alert to a child in distress and prevented a tragedy.

Loch Raven HS: John Salvino, Paraeducator

John Salvino has been instrumental in starting the fundraising initiative for Loch Raven’s Yearbook this year. He has had meetings to discuss distribution, contacts within the community, and promotions to make sure that Loch Raven’s Yearbook class and club are successful this year. He has met with business owners on Loch Raven’s behalf to discuss advertising and boosted the energy of promotional staffers.

In addition to helping with the yearbook, John has a knack for helping students who need to see an extra friendly face or need an extra little push to become motivated. For example, when a student was having a bad day and not exhibiting her normal behavior, she started to raise her voice in class and was clearly flustered. John happened to be walking by and respectfully asked if everything was okay. When the girl said no, he asked if he could borrow her for a few minutes. Two minutes later, she came back into class, much calmer and positive and clearly whatever conversation had happened between them made her feel like she could make it through the rest of the day on the right foot. John didn’t have to stop and help, but as stated by the person who nominated him, “John helps everyone.”

Pot Spring: Angela Sfakianoudis, Paraeductor

Mrs. Sfakianoudis is an exemplary employee who regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty. She is often the voice of consistency for at-risk students as they transition from one classroom setting to another. Mrs. Sfakianoudis is always thinking of the needs of the students as well as the Pot Spring community.  She has been active in wellness initiatives for staff, suggesting Fit Friday activities and encouraging others to participate.

Mrs. Sfakianoudis’ daily performance alone is enough to merit a nomination but a recent event helped bring her name to the forefront. When a fellow staff member had a medical emergency in the lunchroom, Mrs. Sfakianoudis literally sprang into action. She leapt across the room to help the coworker, alerted the administration and nurse of the emergency and immediately reported to the health suite to address student needs as the nurse attended to the emergency at hand.  All of this was done even though Mrs. Sfakianoudis injured herself in the process.  Her first and foremost concern was the safety of her coworkers and the students. 

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