CHIPLEY — Washington County’s top teachers and employee received more honors Monday when they were recognized by the Chamber of Commerce and One South Bank.


CHIPLEY — Washington County’s top teachers and employee received more honors Monday when they were recognized by the Chamber of Commerce and One South Bank.



Melissa Whitson, a teacher at Roulhac Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year 2014 in a Jan. 17 ceremony at Vernon High School. 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.



On Monday, Pat Schlenker presented awards to the top three district employees on behalf of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.



“Through the years, the Chamber and the School Board have worked closely, and I think no one appreciates the importance of what our schools mean to this county and community than the Chamber,” Schlenker said.



One South Bank Director Andy Fleener also presented Whitson with a trophy he jokingly referred to as the “Hesiman.” The award is presented by the bank each year to the Teacher of the Year for display at her school.



“I was told I’d better come home with the Hesiman,” Whitson said. “Now I’m safe.”



The board members also heard a school update on the Vernon Elementary School from Principal Chris Beard and Assistant Principal Latina English.



Beard noted that the school has rescheduled its Parent Night for 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. He also said VES recently sent 20 participants to the Bay County Reading Association event on Jan. 26. “We were the county with the second highest attendance at the event, and Vernon Elementary had the highest school attendance from Washington County,” Beard said.



Beard also noted that discipline referrals at the school are down by 120 occurrences since last year. “Classroom management, experience and professional development have positively affected the environment,” he said.



Less discipline referrals means more time on task in class and improved student achievement, Beard added.



Mark Hagerman, vice president of sales with ABM Building Services, presented a check for $1,000 to Washington-Holmes Technical Center and showed the winning video that was submitted by WHTC students which explained the energy saving HVAC systems which was installed on the campus last year and which have cut energy costs 40 percent.



“We were looking for a professional looking video, but one that wasn’t shot by professionals,” Hagerman said. “We think this one really nailed it. It was a very good job.”