CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced 10 finalists for the 2022-2023 West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year. This honor recognizes the commitment and dedication of staff members in the public school system who work beyond expectations to serve students and families in their communities. They have earned the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, coworkers, and parents.
“These unsung heroes—with their compassion and determination—exemplify the ideal caring adults working to support our students. They truly enrich the lives of our children every day they step into their duties.”
Former State Superintendent of Schools, W. Claton Burch
This year’s finalists represent regions around the state and are as follows:
Michelle Clark is a special education aide at Harrisville Elementary School in Ritchie County, West Virginia. Colleagues of Clark attest to her willingness to go above and beyond for each student, parent, and staff member of Harrisville Elementary’s community. She is considered an asset to Ritchie County Schools since joining 11 years ago. Clark firmly believes her students deserve every opportunity to reach their fullest academic potential, and she considers it an honor to assist students in accessing those opportunities. Outside of her classroom-based duties, Clark spends time as the secretary for her local 4-H Leaders’ Association, volunteering with the Harrisville Women’s Club Soup Luncheon, and assisting with teacher appreciation planning.
Susan Clark is a receptionist at Warm Springs Middle School in Morgan County, West Virginia. She has worked in Morgan County Schools for 21 years. According to her colleagues, Clark carries a tremendous work ethic, an in-depth knowledge of the community she serves, and unquestionable integrity. She leads by example, always having a calm demeanor, a smile on her face, and a willingness to lend a hand. In addition to her devotion to Morgan County Schools, Clark is involved in her church community, junior football cheerleading teams, the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company, and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Jeffrey Coleman is head of maintenance at John Marshall High School in Marshall County, West Virginia. With an unparalleled work ethic and kindness, colleagues say he is essential to the John Marshall Monarch family. His versatility, organization, and inherent goodwill is apparent in any task he takes on such as upkeeping and beautifying school grounds, attending every play, musical, and football game, and helping distribute food during the pandemic to students and their families. In his spare time, Coleman is active in this church, represents the Marshall County Chapter of the West Virginia Service Personnel Association, and volunteers for the Marshall County Road-E-O program.
Marketta Crum is a secretary at Beale Elementary School in Mason County, West Virginia. Crum has been at Beale Elementary for the last 14 of 16 years of professional service. She is known to quickly establish a positive rapport with students, staff, and families, which helps create and maintain a positive and productive school environment. Staff often describe Crum as being the “go-to” person for day-to-day school operations, school finance, and school law. Crum’s school- and community-based volunteer activities include being an advocate for juvenile diabetes awareness, a member of her local church, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and being a West Virginia 4-H Lifetime All-Star.
Wendy Dodson is a secretary at the Jefferson County Schools central office. She helps meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable children and families in Jefferson County by consistently facilitating federal programs with fidelity, using her bilingual proficiency to engage with the families and adults of English learners, and by supporting the members of Jefferson County’s Social and Emotional Support and Responsive Education teams. She is known for her “can-do” spirit and heart for people both young and old. Dodson also serves as the treasurer of the boosters for the Jefferson County baseball team, helps with her church’s food pantry and other food insecurity initiatives, and provides translation services for families in her community.
Mellissa Fuller is a pre-school aide at Huff Consolidated Elementary and Middle School in Wyoming County, West Virginia. In her 10 years of service, Fuller has positively affected countless children. Colleagues of Fuller share that she is loved, respected, and an integral part of Huff Consolidated’s positive school climate and the high-quality education students receive. Fuller is known to be deeply committed to her students, consistently positive, and always willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish all tasks before her. In addition to her duties within the classroom, Fuller works to alleviate food insecurity, heads Huff Consolidated’s compassion committee, volunteers at school sporting and holiday events, and is an active member of her church community.
Jessica Grose is a special education aide at Hodgesville Elementary School in Upshur County, West Virginia. According to her colleagues, Grose is a great team player who will step up wherever she is needed. During her 11 years of service, Grose has made lasting connections with the students. She makes every student feel important through her positive attitude, and genuineness. In addition to the support she provides in her school building, Grose volunteers with the Upshur County FFA, the Buckhannon-Upshur football team, choir, band, cheerleading team, and Buckhannon #24 International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.
Glenna Johnston is a kindergarten teacher’s aide at Peterson-Central Elementary School in Lewis County, West Virginia. Johnston is known to display a positive attitude and work tirelessly with her coworkers to organize, implement, and deliver quality instruction to Peterson-Central students. She is known for her solution-oriented mindset and dependability. In addition to her duties, Johnston spends her time supporting Lewis County sports and assisting with crafts and projects for various school and church programs. Johnston exemplifies what it means to be a community leader by being highly active in her local 4-H chapter, participating in the county staff development, and volunteering at her church
Kaare Mejias is the finance secretary at Martinsburg North Middle School in Berkeley County, West Virginia. In her 15 years of service, Mejias has embodied what it means to be adaptable and resilient. In the past seven years, she has trained multiple enrollment secretaries, planned coverage schedules for teachers, and received a perfect audit each year. According to her colleagues, Mejias consistently finds ways to recognize staff and students and is always willing to be a mentor to a student in need. In addition to her secretarial obligations, Mejias volunteers at local Communities In Schools events, helps organize Martinsburg North’s clothing closet and assists with photography and organization for local girls’ basketball teams.
Hannah Rexrode is a school bus operator for Mineral County Schools. During her 11 years of service, Rexrode has developed a reputation for being level-headed, honest, detail-oriented, and serious about her job. According to her colleagues, Rexrode’s skill and knowledge of bus operations, state and county policy and care and compassion for her students are unmatched. Most importantly, students respect and admire Rexrode and they feel secure when they are in her care. Rexrode also participates in initiatives targeting food insecurity, volunteers with local Boy Scouts Troops in military appreciation events and volunteers with Mineral County’s Aging and Family Services events.
West Virginia’s School Service Personnel of the Year and Teacher of the Year will be announced on September 13, 2022, during a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston.
For more information about the West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year, please visit the WVDE website.