VERNON — Washington County School District honored its teachers and employees Thursday, naming the Teacher, Rookie Teacher and Employee of the Year at a ceremony held in the Vernon High School auditorium.


VERNON — Washington County School District honored its teachers and employees Thursday, naming the Teacher, Rookie Teacher and Employee of the Year at a ceremony held in the Vernon High School auditorium.



Melissa Whitson, a teacher at Roulhac Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year 2014, while Kate M. Smith Elementary teacher Ashley Kilpatrick was named Rookie Teacher of the Year 2013. Vernon High School employee Kevin Russell was named School Related Employee of the Year 2013.



These teachers and staff do “what it takes, they keep driving them to school, make sure they have a safe, comfortable facility, make sure they get their meal vouchers filled out,” said Delanie Pritchard, the district’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. “Everyone here is working to make a difference.”



Pritchard summed up her philosophy by quoting her father, Sonny Chestnut: “The game of life is won between you ears.”



The winners were chosen from nominees from all the schools within the Washington County School District, and each nominee was honored before the overall winners were announced by Superintendent Joe Taylor.



The School Related Employees of the Year 2013 nominees were Janet Dalton, Chipley Bus Garage; Cheryl Allen, District/Data/Media/WISE; Donna Taylor, Chipley High School; Alisha Redmon, Kate M. Smith Elementary School; Nettie Smith, Roulhac Middle School; Julie Morris, Vernon Bus Garage; George Hutton, Vernon Elementary School; Kevin Russell, Vernon High School; Glenda Redmon, Vernon Middle School; Shirley Thompson, Washington-Holmes Technical Center.



Rookie Teachers of the Year for 2013 nominees included Jorge Bauzo, Chipley High School; Ashley Kilpatrick, Kate M. Smith Elementary School; Daniel McNeill, Roulhac Middle School; Jessica Lee, Vernon Elementary School, Phillip Draayon, Vernon High School; Taura Brock, Vernon Middle School; Stephen Ealum, Washington-Holmes Technical Center.



Nominees for Teachers of the Year for 2014 were Valerie Park, Chipley High School; Jaqueline Jacks, Kate M. Smith Elementary School; Melissa Whitson, Roulhac Middle School; Judy (Jay) Griffis, Vernon Elementary School; Alan Hambright, Vernon High School; Holly Prescott, Vernon Middle School; Scott Curry, Washington-Holmes Technical Center.



“Just because someone didn’t get chosen, doesn’t mean they aren’t winners,” Taylor said. “The tremendous job everyone of these people do every day speaks to their dedication and professionalism.”