Helping Hands

Helping Hands Awards

The staff members listed below were nominated by students, parents, colleagues and community members and recognized with the Helping Hands Award for their dedication to the students of Powhatan County Public Schools.

Do you know a Powhatan County Public Schools employee who is Inspiring, Empowering, or Innovating? We want to hear from you! Tell us about any staff member who is making a difference in the lives of our children by inspiring, empowering or innovating. Please use the online nomination form linked here to tell us about a Powhatan Schools staff member who deserves to be recognized. We welcome suggestions from students, families, co-workers or community members.

Ms. Blythe Samuels - Innovating and Ms. Nancy Taylor - Empowering

Blythe Samuels and Nancy Taylor - 21/22 Helping Hands Award Recipients

Ms. Blythe Samuels was nominated by one of her students, Katelin Stocker, for INNOVATING.

Katelin wrote:

As a student in her AP Computer Science Principles class, I have witnessed the extent at which Mrs. Samuels has been able to innovate her classroom to best fit the virtual and hybrid environments. The countless hours that she spends outside of school striving to innovate her class to best fit her students is strongly evident, and her passion for teaching remains untouched. With all of her hard work, her students are able to succeed in their learning.

 

Ms. Nancy Taylor was nominated by one of her parents and fellow PCPS employee Ms. Dorothy Tribble, for EMPOWERING.

Ms. Tribble wrote:

Teaching Calculus is challenging under normal circumstances. Mrs. Taylor has been teaching AP Calculus during the very difficult COVID year of 20-21 and has done an amazing job. When your high school senior comes home on her one day a week with this teacher and absolutely shines because not only is she learning, she is excelling, that is quite a feat. Mrs. Taylor has a way of teaching and challenging her students and making them feel good about themselves at the same time. As a parent, there is nothing better than your child, coming home from school and referring to their teacher as "epic."

 

Mrs. Kelsey Brice

Kelsey Brice - 21-22 Helping Hands Award Recipient

Mrs. Kelsey Brice was nominated by her supervisor, Dr. Tracie Omohundro for INSPIRING.

Dr. Omohundro wrote:

Because the gymnasium at PLC is being used for Powhatan County COVID vaccinations, the PCPS office at PLC has received innumerable inquiries from local citizens about vaccination. Kelsey Brice has become a main point
of contact for those citizens looking for assistance. While her role is to support schools, she has professionally and graciously answered questions from the general public about vaccinations, clinics, and registrations. She has reached out to find answers to their questions if she was not able to answer them. She has treated each citizen with respect and patience. I am thankful that the citizens of Powhatan County have had such a kind and supportive person to assist them during these challenging times. Thanks, Kelsey, for
inspiring us with your grace, respect, patience and kindness!

Ms. Beth Nanny - Inspiring

 Elizabeth Nanny - 21-22 Helping Hands Award Recipient 

Ms. Beth Nanny was nominated by a member of our community, Ms. Gay Bartlett for INSPIRING.

Ms. Bartlett wrote:

Ms. Nanny is always pleasant and positive with employees and visitors who come into the building. She helps wherever needed without being asked and is always willing to help employees with questions about completing forms and technology. Using her experience from a different school division, Ms. Nanny has provided suggestions and ways to improve the operations of the Transportation Department.

Ms. Jennifer Lawson - Innovating

 Jennifer Lawson - 21/22 Helping Hands Award Recipient 

Ms. Jennifer Lawson was nominated by a Flat Rock parent, Ms. Mona Morris for INNOVATING.

Ms. Morris wrote:

Ms. Lawson has been caring and administering daily medications for my daughter for several years. She shows so much care and love for the kids. She does whatever it takes to help my daughter feel better, calmer or to administer the different medications. At my daughter’s request, Mrs. Lawson provided her a spoonful of applesauce to help her with swallowing her lunchtime medications which helps relieve anxiety. Ms. Lawson even provided all the medication forms to the Powhatan Elementary nurse for the summer school program so all I had to do was bring in the medication. That was so helpful! I feel blessed and am grateful for Mrs. Lawson who has taken such great care of my daughter during her visits to the clinic - Thank you Mrs. Lawson!

Ms. Nashae Jones - Empowering

 Nashae Jones - 21/22 Helping Hands Award Recipient 

Ms. Nashae Jones was nominated by not one but TWO of her students, for EMPOWERING.

Katelin Stocker wrote:

Mrs. Jones is always striving to empower others through providing equal opportunities for success for every student. She continually advocates for her students and coworkers, despite their backgrounds. Her strong work ethic and high level of empathy empowers every soul around her to be the best version of themselves.

Sheyla Daniels wrote:

Mrs. Jones never fails to support her students. She empowers all of us in our own way. She makes it clear we can always come to her with issues outside the classroom. I’ve truly learned to be a better, well-rounded thinker because of her. For a teacher to teach lifelong skills in conjunction with her standard curriculum demonstrates a special teacher who is too often overlooked and underappreciated.

Ms. Cathy Vaden - Inspiring

 Cathy Vaden - 21/22 Helping Hands Award Recipient 

Ms. Cathy Vaden was nominated by her PHS Family for Inspiring.

The PHS family wrote:

Cathy Vaden has been a rock star this school year! We are grateful for her expertise and due diligence in keeping us all safe. She advises students, parents, and staff members. Not only does she maintain her regular nurse care for all students, she promotes a healthy school environment by promptly responding to COVID reports and contract tracing whenever it is needed. We couldn't maintain our learning environment without you, Cathy! You INSPIRE us with your dedication to being the best nurse you can be. We love you!

Ms. April Harris - Inspiring

 April Harris - 21/22 Helping Hands Award Recipient 

Ms. April Harris was nominated by a parent, Ms. Sharon Blisick for INSPIRING.

Ms. Blisick wrote:

I am a single mom and my children are often home alone until I get home from work. On April 20, 2021 my boys’ Godfather came for a surprise visit in the afternoon, prior to me coming home from work. Ms. Harris saw the "strange man" walking around my yard and asked my son if he knew the man before allowing him to get off the bus. Words cannot describe the depth of my appreciation for Ms. Harris for ensuring my son's safety. Had she allowed my son to get off the bus and had this man been a stranger, the outcome could have been much worse. Please acknowledge Ms. Harris and the extra effort she took to ensure my son's safety.

Dr. Martha Powers - Innovating and Ms. Robin Hagy - Inspiring

 Dr. Martha Powers and Ms. Robin Hagy - Helping Hands Award Recipients for Innovating and Inspiring. 

Dr. Powers was nominated by Ms. Mona Morris, a Flat Rock Elementary parent, for INNOVATING.

Ms. Morris wrote:

During last Spring’s remote learning, Dr. Powers laminated different educational activities and mailed them to children to use as visuals for practicing math at home. These resources helped my granddaughter tremendously. Dr. Powers is always looking for a positive solution to help children power through the challenges. She is truly amazing and loves all the children. Amazing, inspiring - that's Dr. Powers.

Ms. Robin Hagy was nominated by Ms. Mona Morris, a Flat Rock Elementary parent, for INSPIRING.

Ms. Morris wrote:

Students may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. Ms. Hagy has inspired her entire class to support and encourage each other during these unusual times with COVID. My granddaughter has opened up to express her feelings in a way she has never before. Ms. Hagy is building trust and confidence in her students. My granddaughter made the honor roll both nine weeks of school this year and has developed a trusting and inspiring relationship with her teachers.

Ms. Lisa Simonick - Empowering

 Lisa Siminok - Helping Hands Award Recipient for Empowering 

Ms. Lisa Simonick was nominated by Ms. Sharon Courtwright, a PHS parent, for EMPOWERING.

Ms. Courtwright wrote:

My son had 2 Summer school classes this year. We were somewhat concerned how well it would be online instead of at the actual school. Lisa Simonick went above and beyond in every way to make sure that we were comfortable with the entire online process. She was very quick to answer any questions or concerns we had and frequently checked up on us to make sure my son was staying on track. I'd like to thank Ms. Simonick for making the entire process as easy and stress-free as possible.

Ms. Michelle Martin - Inspiring

 Michelle Martin - Helping Hands Award Recipient for Inspiring. 

Ms. Michelle Martin was nominated by Ms. Mary Smith, a PHS parent, for INSPIRING.

Ms. Smith wrote:

My son had a hard time adjusting to high school and Mrs. Martin met with him several times a day to inspire him to make good choices. He was having a very difficult time with one class in particular. She would meet with my son before and after class and tell him she believed in him. She never gave up on him. With Mrs. Martin`s persistence and inspiring Jacob , he was able to believe in himself. I know without a doubt that if Jacob needs to talk to someone he can count on Mrs. Martin to inspire him to get back on track.

Ms. Mary Lisker - Inspiring

 Mary Lisker - Helping Hands Award Recipient for Inspiring 

Ms. Mary Lisker was nominated by Michal Rafter, a PHS student, for INSPIRING.

Michal wrote:

Mrs. Lisker has always been there to help me with my organization skills. Her level of expertise in this field is far greater than most folks I know. She is definitely the talk of the house whenever the subject of organization is brought up.

Ms. Jessica Minnix - Innovating

 Jessica Minnix - Helping Hands Award Receipent for Innovating 

Ms. Jessica Minnix was nominated by Ms. Norma Jimenez- Jones, a PMS parent for INNOVATING.

Ms. Jimenez-Jones wrote:

Ms. Minnix is an overall a great teacher! She keeps students engaged, encourages participation, independent research and thinking. Ms. Minnix was already working with students in a "flip class" environment even before COVID lockdown which made a smooth transition for students when they must learn virtually. I have heard her lectures and I truly enjoyed history and civics class with her!

Mrs. Becky Brown and Mrs. JoAnne Muzzey - Empowering

 

JoAnne Muzzey - Helping Hands Award Recipient for EmpoweringBecky Brown - Helping Hands Award Recipient for Empowering

Mrs. Becky Brown and Mrs. JoAnne Muzzey were nominated by Ms. Ashley Brooks, a PMS parent, for EMPOWERING.

Ms.Brooks wrote:

Mrs. Becky Brown and Mrs. JoAnne Muzzey are one of Powhatan County's Dynamic Duos! They empower and inspire students to do their best even though school/life is tough. The love they have for their job and their students, especially my child, are apparent in every aspect of their classroom and their day. My child has had some great teachers in the past; however, these two have been so inspirational for my child. This year alone, my child has found a love for reading more than any other year. The way these ladies take the time to get to know their students and find out their interests is quite unique. Their patience, love, and dedication to their students is very deserving of a helping hands award! I am SO BLESSED, THANKFUL, and HONORED that my child has Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Muzzey in his life. I know the rest of his career as a student will be better because they were part of his journey!

 

Mr. Marcellus Beasley - Inspiring

  Mr. Marcellus Beasley with students PCPS, PHS staff   

Mr. Marcellus Beasley was nominated by one of his students, Ms. Michele Sanchez for INSPIRING.

Michele wrote:

Both Board Game Club and the Robotics Team are places where I've felt as though I belong. When I first transferred, I had a really hard time trying to fit in with kids who have known each other their whole lives. When Mr. Beasley invited me to board game club, I was nervous but the other kids waved me in and set up a seat for me! That day, they also invited me to come to a robotics scrimmage, where the same thing happened. I'm now proudly part of both groups, and Mr. Beasley helps give kids a place to belong when they don't feel like they have one, and that's beautiful.

Ms. Ellen Yoder - Inspiring

    Mrs. Ellen Yoder with students 

Ms. Ellen Yoder was nominated by one of her parents, Ms. Joanna Hoyt for INSPIRING.

Ms. Hoyt wrote:

Mrs. Yoder is the most positive teacher my children have ever had. I feel we’ve had many, many wonderful teachers, however, Mrs. Yoder goes out of her way to constantly praise and pick out every positive thing she can about each child. She continues to check in on past students and offers help when your family has had a lot of sickness. She boosts her students’ self-esteem (even the ones that don’t think highly of themselves). We need more Yoders!

Ms. Mae Church - Inspiring

  Ms. Mae Church with students, Dr. Jones, and other PCPS staff.   

Ms. Mae Church was nominated by Ms. Amanda Church for INSPIRING.

Amanda wrote:

Ms. Mae Church has been going out of her way to help the students of Powhatan County get to and from school safely for 45 years!

Officer Corbin Kelley - Inspiring

    Officer Cobin Kelley with PCPS staff. 

Officer Corbin Kelley was nominated by a parent, Ms. Amy Cardwell for INSPIRING.

Ms. Cardwell wrote:

Officer Kelley connects with the kids at school and personally has become my son's mentor. My son has the same hobbies as SRO Kelley and he has personally befriended my son and they chat about projects they are working on. If my son has a problem, he is comfortable talking to SRO Kelley.

Ms. Phyllis Price - Inspiring

    Ms. Phyllis Price with FRES & PCPS staff 

Ms. Phyllis Price was nominated by a parent, Ms. Sarah Oatman, for INSPIRING.

Ms. Oatman wrote:

Mrs. Price shows so much love and respect to each and every one of her students. I can tell by the way students talk about her that she is so much more than a teacher. Eli loves to go to school every day. She often quotes Mrs. Prices’ wise advice, and comments on her "no chaos" policies. I think she is investing all of herself into making great future generations. We are blessed to have so many wonderful teachers at this school, and she's a diamond at this Flat Rock!!

Mr. Jarrod Lisker - Empowering

 Jarrod Lisker recognized with Helping Hands Award  

Mr. Jarrod Lisker was nominated by one of his former students, Rachael Stanton, for Empowering.

Rachael wrote: 

Mr. Lisker went above and beyond to help me with math. He is the reason I passed high school Algebra. He helped me deal with a very hard move from New Hampshire to Virginia. Mr. Lisker took his time to talk with me and help me one-on-one until I understood the material. He never gave up on me.

Ms. Lisa Reid-Miller - Inspiring

 Lisa Reid-Miller recognized with Helping Hands Award  

Ms. Reid-Miller was nominated by one of her students for being Inspiring.

Casey wrote:

You may be thinking, “She's just the art teacher”, but there is so much more to Mrs. Reid-Miller. She once told me she smiles or says hi to anyone she sees in the hallway because she wants them to be happy. I only had Ms. Reid-Miller for tribe time 2 years ago, but still, to this day I still find myself trying to fill her shoes and do what she does best, which is trying to make people happy. Whenever I have a friend or myself that feels bad, I always ask myself what would Ms. Miller do because, to me, that always seems like the best decision.

Mrs. Donia Spott - Innovating

 Donia Spott recognized with Helping Hands Award  

Ms. Donia Spott was nominated by one of her colleagues, Ms. Gillian Lambert, for Innovating.

Ms. Lambert wrote:

In her new role as STEM Coach, Donia has created a truly innovative learning environment. She is able to seamlessly connect numerous STEM lessons and activities to any content area. She is always willing to help students in various science competitions, as well as gives her time to students who want to create a variety of projects during Tribe Time. Donia's success with all populations of students, regardless of ability level, is indicative of the efficacy of her skill set and the ownership she demonstrates for the craft of teaching and instruction.

Ms. Christine Bowen - Empowering

 Lt. Col. Veronica Baker recognized with Helping Hands Award 

Ms. Christine Bowen was nominated by a parent, Ms. Katherine Levermore for being Empowering.

Ms. Levermore wrote:

Ms. Bowen has helped my son improve by 5 reading levels last year. She has greatly improved his self-esteem and confidence about reading.

Ms. Libby Acampora - Inspiring

    Ms. Libby Acampora with Drs. Martin & Parker  

Ms. Libby Acampora was nominated by one of her colleagues, Ms. Sarah Cosner for being Inspiring.

Ms. Cosner wrote: 

Libby is such an amazing person, friend, and colleague. She is always finding ways to make a genuine difference and connection with all of our citizens. She leads by example and shares her findings from self-studies. I am incredibly inspired by Libby's loving spirit and everything she shares with this community. SHE IS MAKING A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE every single day. We are so very blessed to have her here with us.
LIBBY, we notice and love you and THANK YOU for your selfless and consistent inspiration! You are our rock!

Ms. Liz McCrory - Inspiring

 Liz McCrory recognized with Helping Hands Award  

Ms. Liz McCrory was nominated by a parent, Ms. Tiffany Abbondanza, for being Inspiring.

Ms. Abbondanza wrote:

Mrs. McCrory had her students study the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. While learning about the habit of being Proactive, Mrs. McCrory asked the children what a change was they knew their parents were trying to teach them. My daughter offered that it was sleeping through the night without waking us up. Mrs. McCrory encouraged my daughter to set that as a goal, but to be proactive by working with mom/dad to identify a way to celebrate when she reached the goal. Fast forward two weeks and our daughter started staying in her room and sleeping through the night for the first time in years. The change was astounding and inspired by her awesome teacher. Not only was our daughter very proud, mom and dad got to sleep through the night too!

Lt. Col. Veronica Baker - Empowering

 Lt. Col. Veronica Baker recognized with Helping Hands Award 

Lt. Col. Veronica Baker was nominated by a parent, Ms. Beth Belcher, for being Empowering.
Ms. Belcher wrote: 

Lt. Colonel Baker has both inspired and empowered her students all 6 years she has been at PHS. Through her leadership and required responsibility tasks she gives her students,
Col. Baker shows students what it will be like in the real world. Her goal has always been to give them the needed skills to help others, lead others and push yourself to achieve positive goals. Col Baker also incorporates outside sources to inspire her students. Through field trips and community service activities, the students get the opportunity to apply what they have learned in real-life situations. She expects excellence in her students and gives them the tools they need to reach it. I have had (2) students go through her program and through her help and dedication to see them succeed they both have grown into individuals who are respectful, caring and determined young men.

Ms. Carol Antone - Inspiring

 Carol Antone recognized with Helping Hands Award  

Ms. Carol Antone was nominated by one of her colleagues, Ms. Libby Acampora for being Inspiring.

Ms. Acampora wrote: 

Carol makes everyone who enters school counseling feel like they matter, they are going to be heard and taken care of. When she speaks, you hear compassion and kindness. Students feel like everything is going to be okay. For staff, she can be a shoulder to cry on, a person who will politely answer questions, a masterful problem solver and a great friend. She will print off documents, forms, and even run to the closet to get salt/pepper packets. Carol is organized, professional and caring to parents as well. Powhatan Middle School is blessed to have Carol Antone in our ONE TRIBE!!!