Stafford Recognizes Employees of the Year at Gold Star Gala

School Board Chair: “Our employees are the heart of our district.”

Stafford County Public Schools honored employees of the year in all categories at its annual Gold Star Gala Dinner and Ceremony Thursday evening.

In addition to celebrating the Teacher of the Year, the division also presented honors for Bus Drivers of the Year, Bus Attendants of the Year, Nutrition Service Workers of the Year, School Protection and School Resource Officer of the Year, Counselor of the Year, Assistant Principal and Principal of the Year, Student Support Services Employee of the Year, Service Employees of the Year, and First Class Teacher of the Year, which recognizes a first-year teacher.

“Each person of the year demonstrates dedication, leadership, and an unwavering commitment that not only enriches our school community, but inspires others to excel together,” said Maureen Siegmund, School Board Chair, in a press release from the school division. “Our employees are the heart of our district, and their continued excellence is instrumental in fostering a culture of achievement and student success. I am so proud of each and every one.”

The School Board’s student representatives, Joellaine Duku and Jenny Odetogun, handed out the awards to each recipient. Duku also gave a welcome address.

State Senator Tara Durant and Delegate Paul Milde attended the event, along with School Board members.

Division superintendent Thomas Taylor said the gala “celebrates not just the achievements of our Staff of the Year recipients, but the unwavering commitment and excellence that define our entire team.”

“The dedication of all our employees not only elevates our institution but serves as a beacon of inspiration for our community,” Taylor said in the press release. “I congratulate all of our nominees and thank them for continuing to choose Stafford.”

Below are the winners in each category:

Bus Drivers of the Year: Cleophas Brickhouse, Michael Furchak, Coleen Lamar  

Bus Attendant of the Year: Tyler Terry  

Nutrition Services Employees of the Year: Araceli Alquizar, Brooke Point High School; Lisa Donovan, North Star Early Childhood Education Center; Wilson Gomez Arevalo, Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School

School Protection Officer of the Year: Deputy David Muñoz, Anne E. Moncure Elementary School

School Resource Officer of the Year: Deputy RiShawn Allen, North Stafford High School  

Counselor of the Year: Shannon Kelly, Anne E. Moncure Elementary School

Assistant Principal of the Year: Niki Simms, Conway Elementary School 

Student Support Services Employees of the Year: Jennifer Hoff, Anne E. Moncure Elementary School

Service Employees of the Year: Kristen Payne, Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School; Tracy Trujillo, Transportation Services 

First Class Teacher of the Year: Ashley Gebhart, Conway Elementary School

Teacher of the Year: Jenny Taylor, Grafton Village Elementary School

Principal of the Year: Dr. Brian Raska, Hartwood Elementary School

Managing Editor and Correspondent