VERNON - Washington County School District’s Teacher of the Year for 2019 Lenora Henderson challenged nominees for Teacher of the Year 2020 to continue to sculpt, mold and paint the minds of their students when the district gathered Thursday evening at Vernon High School for Washington County School District’s annual Teacher of the Year award ceremony.

WCSD Teacher of the Year 2020 Tami Porter Parish was said to not only be an academic influencer, but also "kind" and "admirable" by her student Marissa Rodriguez.

“Mrs. Parish is not just my teacher, she is my academic influencer,” said Rodriguez. “She is always there for her students, no matter how crazy we maker her. She is kind, admirable, radiant, inspiring, and strong but most of all she is my hero.”

“I am so blessed to be able to teach these students,” said Parish. “I am the fortunate one to work in WCSD, I wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything.”

Parish will represent Washington County District Schools at the state-level competition.

The 2019 Rookie Teacher of the Year went to Kate M. Smith Elementary teacher Kaylor Collins. This is the second time Collins has won the award, the first was in 2016.

KS Principal Lisa Burdeshaw says although this is the last time Collins can win Rookie Teacher of the Year, she believes next time she will win Teacher of the Year.

The 2019 School-Related Employee of the Year was Ernie Zorn from Panhandle Technical College. FPTC Director Martha Compton spoke of Zorn’s passion and dedication to the school.

“Ernie has been instrumental with bringing FPTC into the digital management age,” said Compton. “We could not do the job that we do without his passion, talent or dedication.”

WCSD Chairwoman Dr. Lou Cleveland said awardees should remember that the above mentioned awards pale in comparison to the reward of making a daily impact on the lives of students throughout the district.

“These awards may be handed out last, but they are not the most prestigious,” said Cleveland. “I hope that all of the awardees will look at the plaques that are in their hands and remember that those awards were given to you by people that work beside you day by day. They know the job you do. They want to show you respect and honor you in this way.”

“As I listen to colleagues, principals and students talk about all the award winners, I was humbled,” said Cleveland. “I felt so blessed to be part of a school system that supports individuals who are so dedicated and have such a passion for their students.”