Shenandoah schools convocation recognizes success in education

By Josette Keelor

WOODSTOCK — Education has been a part of agriculture teacher Jaclyn Roller Ryan’s life since she was born. At Friday afternoon’s Shenandoah County Public Schools convocation, she said she followed her father and grandparents into a career in education.

“I learned at a young age that I wanted to teach here in Shenandoah County and continue the tradition,” she said. But it’s goose bumps that keep her in education.

“Those moments that give us goose bumps,” she explained — when she’s excited to share in a student’s success — “It’s those moments that you realize you are in the right place doing the right thing.”

At Friday’s convocation, Superintendent Jeremy Raley also spoke of teachable moments that transcend grades and test scores.

“What about the things that you do day in and day out?” he asked the crowd gathered at Central High School in Woodstock. “You do it because you care. You do it because you’re in this business for the right reasons.”

After accepting a $2,500 giant check from the Shenandoah Educational Foundation for being named Shenandoah County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Ryan spoke of her students’ success in the Future Farmers of America at local, state and national events.

Last week, she took students to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia where she watched her students assist veterans and felt those goose bumps again.

Every August, she said, hearing about the success of Shenandoah County students, “I honestly get goose bumps at each and every convocation.”

“It’s not like this everywhere,” she said.

Other Teachers of the Year recognized at Friday’s ceremony were Kimberly Moomaw of Ashby Lee Elementary School, Michelle Hepner of Central High, Melanie Woods of North Fork Middle, Rebecca Coffman of Peter Muhlenberg Middle, Rachel Shoemaker of Sandy Hook Elementary, Serena Omps of Strasburg High, Lisa Gibson of Stonewall Jackson High, Mary Sue Wenger of W.W. Robinson Elementary and Roger Wilkins of Triplet Business and Technical Institute and Massanutten Governor’s School.

The 2013-14 Team of the Year went to custodians at Peter Muhlenberg, Kimberly Price, Jerry Lineweaver, Robert Runion, T. Mike Fleming and Wayne Wakeman.

Betsy Bushong was named Shenandoah County Public Schools Employee of the Year.

Friday was a celebration of achievement for Shenandoah schools, Raley said.

How many school divisions can say they have the National FFA President as one of their alumni, the best middle school FFA chapter in the nation and the National FCCLA president, he asked. “Very few, if any, I’m sure.”

He also called to notice the county’s nationally recognized agriculture teachers and student musicians and artists recognized regionally and statewide for accomplishments.

“The great things that we do day in and day out cannot be measured by one single test at the end of the school year,” Raley said.

“We’re all here because we care about kids,” he said. “We want students to be prepared, to be ready for the future long after they leave our high schools. That’s what we’re about.”

“I’m pumped, I’m ready,” he said. “Let’s have a great school year.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com