2019 Teacher/Support Staff Employee of the Year

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Congrats to 2019 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Vacca and Support Staff Employee of the Year Corrie Posey! The announcement of both awards came during the April 10 dinner to honor the finalists.

Vacca is a special education teacher at Eagle Glen Elementary School. This is her first year in that position, but she has been teaching for 20 years, with 17 years teaching fourth and fifth grades in the Ray-Pec District.  Posey is the cafeteria manager at Stonegate Elementary School. This is her seventh year in that position and her eighth year working for the school district.  

From left: 2018 Teacher of the Year Brett Beneke, 2017 Teacher of the Year Dan Garrison, Jennifer Vacca, Corrie Posey, 2018 Support Staff Employee of the Year Kelley Weida, and 2014 Support Staff Employee of the Year Scott Dobson.

As the winners, Vacca and Posey each received a $500 cash award, an acrylic desk award, and banners for their schools. Their photos will be on display at the Administrative Services Center. They also received gift cards from Price Chopper and Sonic; and other gifts.

In addition, Vacca receives a Teacher of the Year ring from Balfour, and will be the District’s nominee for Missouri Teacher of the Year. Posey received a bracelet from Noe's Jewelry. Vacca, Posey, and all of the finalists received a plaque, and a bag with gifts, coupons, and other items donated by local businesses.

Meet the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists: banquet program.

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Jennifer Vacca

Jennifer Vacca is 2019 Teacher of the Year

Jennifer is a special education teacher at Eagle Glen Elementary School. This is her first year in that position, but she has been teaching for 20 years, with 17 years in the Ray-Pec School District.

Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri and a master’s degree from Graceland University. She is working on her specialist degree in reading instruction through the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Before coming to Ray-Pec, she worked 3 years for the Della Lamb Charter School in Kansas City, Mo., as a fourth and fifth grade teacher and curriculum coordinator. At Ray-Pec, she taught fourth or fifth grade from 1999 to 2018.

She was also a Teacher of the Year finalist in 2010 and 2017.

Jennifer has been married to husband, Stacy, for 26 years. All three of their children graduated from Ray-Pec. Hailey now lives in Texas; Sami is a para at Bridle Ridge; and Levi is studying cyber-security. She has one granddaughter, Kaydence. Jennifer loves to read a good book, work out in the Crossfit gym, and spend summer months wake-surfing at the lake with her family.

Nominations

She was nominated by two students - Leighlin Wyatt and Madison Sack. She was also nominated by Special Education Teacher Jacque Underwood, who said:

“Even though this is Jennifer’s first year as a special education teacher, she is a rock star and a natural at handling the many needs of our special education population. Jennifer is a collaborator. She goes to great lengths to meet with the classroom teachers on their plan time so that she always knows what is going on in the general education classroom.

“She demonstrates compassion toward her students. It is easy to see that she cares, and the relationship she has with her students, current and past, is just amazing. She understands that each child is unique and has needs that are not just academic.

Why she became a teacher:

“I became a teacher because that was always what my mother told me I needed to do growing up. It was just one of those things she knew, I knew, and I never considered doing anything else. I love the bond I develop with the kids throughout the school year! I not only have my own children, but the 1,000+ students I’ve had over the years are my extended family. There’s nothing better than running into, or hearing from a previous student, and hearing all they’ve done in their life and to think I was a small part of that!”

Corrie Posey is 2019 Support Staff Employee of the Year

Corrie is the Cafeteria Manager at Stonegate Elementary School. This is her seventh year in that position and her eighth year working for the school district. The first year, she worked as a cook at Eagle Glen.

Before working at Ray-Pec, Corrie worked at Clinical Reference Laboratory for 4 years. After her children were born, she stayed home. During her years as a stay-at-home mom, she also ran an in-home daycare for 8 years. When she started working as a cook at Eagle Glen, she worked part-time while her son was in preschool. During her job review, she was offered the kitchen manager job for the following school year.

She has been nominated for this award four consecutive years. She was also a finalist for the award last year.

Corrie Posey 2019

Corrie and her husband, Robert, will celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary next month. They have two children: Bobbi, 17, a junior at Ray-Pec High School, and Colt, 12, a 6th grader at South Middle School. 

She spends a lot of time in the “mom” role: art mom, theatre mom, baseball mom, etc. Her hobbies and interests include crafting, scrapbooking, refurbishing furniture and making decor.

Nomination

She was nominated by two students - Connor and Chris:

“First off, she names the café, how fun is that??? She makes our café so fun. She always has a hug to give and makes fun cinnamon rolls every Friday. She sometimes even sings and dances for us.”

Child Nutrition Director Sarah Chellberg said:

“I am continually impressed with the meal program Corrie leads at Stonegate Elementary. She is always very excited to see ‘her kids’ (as she call them). She makes coming through the serving line a fun event. She took time to rebrand her serving area by painting fruit and vegetable characters, making the space fun and inviting for students. She even added the Stonegate Stingray mascot complete with a chef hat.”

How she makes a difference:

Corey wrote, “My job is to make sure each child and staff member that comes through my cafeteria has a nutritious tasty meal, but a meal is only part of what I try to give to our kids. Sometimes it’s a hug they need to get through a tough day.

“Last year, I took time to paint and brighten up our serving area. I also decorate for all holidays and events in our building. I make “special” cinnamon rolls on Fridays, and this year, at Christmas time, I introduced our very own Elf on a Shelf pair in the café. Their names were Tator and Tot, and they were a huge hit.

“To be honest, I used to be embarrassed to say I work in a school cafeteria. It always seemed like lunch ladies got a bad rep or it seemed like a degrading job. BUT after working for our district for nearly 8 years, I’ve realized there is nothing degrading about my job at all. Instead of just my own 2 children, I have an entire school of kids, and instead of having my family at home, I have an entire elementary school staff I call my family. I’m lucky to work for a great district that my own children go to, in a department whose number 1 priority is to feed our kids a delicious breakfast and lunch every day - and to some who might not even get a meal at home. I get to go to an awesome elementary school every day full of supportive staff and amazing kids. So, yeah, being a lunch lady is a pretty cool job.”

From Principal Doug Becker:

“Her performance as a manager, as well as her love for serving our students and staff make her a great candidate for the award. She looks for ways to create a warm, child-centered family atmosphere, and she will often surprise our staff with cinnamon rolls in the morning or taco soup at lunch.”

Teacher of the Year finalists

Congratulations to the finalists for Ray-Pec 2019 Teacher of the Year:

  • Samantha Allen, Shull Early Learning Center
  • Jenni Beck, Raymore Elementary School
  • Andrea Calkins, Creekmoor Elementary
  • Kristan Gutierrez, Bridle Ridge Elementary
  • Jeff Moore, Ray-Pec High School
  • Sophia Newmaster, South Middle School
  • Lynn Noirfalise, Timber Creek Elementary
  • Tammy Novak, Peculiar Elementary
  • Laura Streeby, East Middle School
  • Jennifer Vacca, Eagle Glen Elementary
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Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists

Congratulations to the finalists for Ray-Pec 2019 Support Staff Employee of the Year:

  • Elizabeth Breier, Eagle Glen Elementary
  • Peggy Brotherton-Ford, South Middle School
  • Deanna Brucker, South Middle School
  • Karla Heinrich, Raymore Elementary School
  • Christine Huggins, Ray-Pec High School
  • Karen Moore, Ray-Pec High School
  • Corrie Posey, Stonegate Elementary School
  • Glenda Whitaker, Bridle Ridge Elementary
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Teacher of the Year nominees

Congratulations to these other teachers who were also nominated for Teacher of the Year:

  • Shull Early Learning Center: Sara Moner.
  • Bridle Ridge Elementary School: Amanda Carver, Heather Cronk, Gina Garrison, Courtney Graham, Candi Morris, Becky Peterson, Jodi Wooley, Pam Gonzalez, and Evelyn Peck.
  • Creekmoor Elementary School: Erica Dodson.
  • Eagle Glen Elementary School: Kim Allen, Christal Heier, George Tombaugh, and Aimee Wilson.
  • Peculiar Elementary School: Sheri Capper and Alice Redding.
  • Raymore Elementary School:  Rebecca Dobson, Kelsi Kershner, Lindsey Meyer, Brianna Pennington, and Kat Pogatschnik.
  • Stonegate Elementary School: Mary Besse.
  • Timber Creek Elementary School: Bethanie Cummings and Traci Lehrbaum.
  • East Middle School: Nikki Brewer, Diane Ejjadaili, Marsha Hasty, and Alexis Stark.
  • South Middle School: Tracy Elliott and Brooke Urbina.
  • Ray-Pec High School: Jackie Coop, Darrick Gray, and Heidi Lanksbury.

Support Staff nominees

Congratulations to these other support staff employees who were also nominated for Support Staff Employee of the Year:

  • Ray-Pec High School: David Perkins and Christine Storms.
  • South Middle School: Katherine Floyd, Sandi Williams, and Javon Williams.
  • Bridle Ridge Elementary: Mark Newell and Angela Schulze.
  • Raymore Elementary: Konni Noyes and Kristy Warren.
  • Timber Creek Elementary: Barb Rewald, Teresa Bursley, and Julie Sinclair.

Awards banquet

A banquet to honor finalists in both programs Is scheduled for April 10 at Ray-Pec High School. The Ray-Pec Public School Foundation plans the awards programs and the banquet. You may attend the banquet to show support for the finalists. The cost is $25. Purchase banquet tickets

To make a reservation, contact Pam Steele, Executive Assistant for the Superintendent and Board of Education, at 816-892-1311 or pam.steele@raypec.org. Please RSVP by April 5. 

For information about sponsoring the banquet in the future or providing prizes or gifts for the finalists or winners, contact Jodie Huston, Executive Director for the Ray-Pec Public School Foundation, at jodie.huston@raypec.org

Nominations

The nomination period is now closed.

The Ray-Pec School District is seeking nominations for the 2019  Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Employee of the Year. Anyone may nominate a teacher by submitting a letter of nomination by Feb. 1, 2019.   A candidate must:

  • Be a full-time teacher, librarian, or counselor.
  • Be returning to teach in 2019-2020 in the District.
  • Have completed 3 or more years teaching at Ray-Pec.
  • Be effective and innovative in the classroom.

Support Staff nominations

For the Support Staff award, you may nominate a full-time or part-time employee who has worked at least one year for the District. The deadline is also Feb. 1. 

Examples of eligible employees include: accompanist, accounts payable, buildings and grounds, child care, child nutrition, crossing guards, nurses, lunch monitors, media assistants, paraprofessionals, Panther Pride and Shark's Den employees, payroll, safety and security, secretaries, teacher aides, and technology.  

Nomination letters

Send letters of nomination to: Ray-Pec Teacher of the Year/Support Staff Employee of the Year program, Administrative Services Center, P.O. Box 789, Peculiar, MO 64078 or to Michele Stidham, Communication Director, at michele.stidham@raypec.org  or rp.update@raypec.org.