Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced Cabell County’s Gary Brydie as the 2024 West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year. The announcement was made as part of the Celebration of Excellence in Education: Honoring the 2024 Teacher and School Service Personnel of the Year Tuesday evening. WVBE Vice President Nancy White and West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt were joined by members of the State Board of Education for the occasion held at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia in Charleston.

Gary Brydie is a school bus operator for Cabell County Schools. He has held this position for more than 12 years. According to his colleagues, Brydie is a model employee who takes pride in providing safe transportation for his students and serving as a role model for youth. In addition to the positive relationship Brydie has with his students, he is a member of the Neighboring Initiative Charitable Trust Board, serves as chairman of the Positive People Association Board, works as the manager of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Community Service, is a member of the Huntington Black Pastor’s Ministerial Alliance, serves on the board of directors for the Shepard’s House Recovery Program and the Salt of the World Ministries. He also participates as a member of the Alliance’s Quick Response Team, where he meets with community members, paramedics and other agencies addressing the drug overdose problems facing the community.

“Mr. Byrdie provides the extra layer of support that educators, students and families often need. He is the heart and soul of the school community,” said Superintendent Blatt. “Service personnel are absolutely critical in the state’s collective mission to prepare our children for success. He personifies the key role he and his colleagues serve each day in the Cabell County community and around the state.”  

 The 2024 finalists include:  

Name  Position  County 
Melissa Faw Payroll Secretary Raleigh County 
Susan Moran Secretary Preston County 
Donna Summerlin Teacher’s Aide West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind 
Darlene Wiltison Secretary Mineral County 

The West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year program recognizes the outstanding dedication and enthusiasm of support staff as they contribute to their schools and communities. The program honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs, thereby earning them the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, co-workers and parents.  

 This year marks the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that the WVDE brought the program back to full capacity, allowing each county winner and their guest to attend in-person. 

 As the 2024 winner, Brydie will receive $2,500 each from the Horace Mann Companies and Highmark West Virginia; $500 from the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association (WVSSPA), as well as a tumbler and Heart of West Virginia glass ornament; a $500 grant from the West Virginia Education Association; $500 from the West Virginia Lottery; a two-night stay at a West Virginia state park from the West Virginia Department of Tourism; and a custom suncatcher from the Blenko Glass Company. All county winners will receive tumblers from the WVSSPA and a plaque and certificate from the WVDE. 

Visit the WVDE social media platforms (listed below) for a recording of the program, and the  WVDE website for more information about the WVDE Teacher and Service Personnel of the Year programs.

For more information, contact Christy Day at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or

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