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April 5, 2020

2/26/2020 1:56:00 PM
'It never gets old'
NV Elementary's Leslie Hill honored as JCSC Teacher of the Year
Jennings County School Corp. Superintendent Teresa Brown, left, presents the JCSC Teacher of the Year Award to North Vernon Elementary School’s Leslie Hill.—Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
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Jennings County School Corp. Superintendent Teresa Brown, left, presents the JCSC Teacher of the Year Award to North Vernon Elementary School’s Leslie Hill.—Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
Jennings County School Corporation educators selected as the Teachers of the Year at their respective schools for 2020 are, from left, Ellen Capes, Hayden Elementary; Monique Christensen, Jennings County Middle; Felicia Hill, Jennings County High; Charlee Simpson, Graham Creek Elementary; Leslie Hill, North Vernon Elementary; Angie Burton, Scipio Elementary; Paige Hoffman, Brush Creek Elementary; and Elizabeth Lane, Sand Creek Elementary.
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Jennings County School Corporation educators selected as the Teachers of the Year at their respective schools for 2020 are, from left, Ellen Capes, Hayden Elementary; Monique Christensen, Jennings County Middle; Felicia Hill, Jennings County High; Charlee Simpson, Graham Creek Elementary; Leslie Hill, North Vernon Elementary; Angie Burton, Scipio Elementary; Paige Hoffman, Brush Creek Elementary; and Elizabeth Lane, Sand Creek Elementary.
For Leslie Hill, every school day is a joy.

"It never gets old," she said. "I still love teaching and the kids in my classroom as much as ever."

The North Vernon Elemen­tary School teacher was named the Jennings County School Corporation's Teacher of the Year at the JCSC Awards Banquet on Tuesday, Feb. 18, capping an evening of speeches, presentations and celebration.

Hill was one of eight educators up for the district honor, each selected from the county's public schools. It's no surprise she was chosen for the district honor, noted JCSC superintendent Teresa Brown.

"Leslie didn't need my help here," said Brown, noting that the award selection was made by an outside committee. "I have observed Leslie's teaching and I know she is a rock star."

Hill has been a sixth grade teacher for 32 years, all at North Vernon Elementary School. She was hired by Donnie Hearne, then a JCSC administrator, in 1988 and went to work under then-principal Connie Gatke at North Vernon.

"I shared a classroom with Judy Love when I started, she did mornings and I did afternoons. Judy was incredible and working with her was a great way to get into my first teaching job."

The late Judy Love went on to become Hayden Elementary School principal and was a leading educator not just in Jennings County but the state.

Hill, a Seymour High School and Franklin College graduate, literally was a last-minute hire at North Vernon. "I found out about the job a week before school started," Hill said. "I'm glad Donnie Hearne hired me."

With the JCSC award, Hill will now go on to represent Jen­nings County in the Indiana Department of Education Teacher of the Year and the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Teacher of the Year 2020 competitions.

The Teachers of the Year at each Jennings County public school were announced and celebrated earlier this year. They are Charlee Simpson at Graham Creek Elementary, Ellen Capes at Hayden Elementary, Monique Christensen at Jennings County Middle, Felicia Hill at Jennings County High, Elizabeth Lane at Sand Creek Elementary and Angie Burton at Scipio Elementary.

"Teaching is a noble profession and it is hard work. We truly appreciate what our educators give to our students and each other every single day," Brown said.

The superintendent initiated the Teacher of the Year recognition program last year

"Our administrators make this special in each school with celebrations for their Teachers of the Year," Brown said. "We also established the district dinner, which Shannon Lacoursierre (JCSC's Human Re­sources Director) plans. She does an amazing job coordinating the events and making it all come together."

The 2020 awards banquet, which honored others on the JCSC staff, was held at The Barn at the Willow Lake Event Center in North Vernon.

"Our administrators worked with the Jen­nings County Classroom Teachers Association to establish and implement the school and district awards because we are grateful for our hard working teachers and staff," Brown said.

The other 2020 JCSC honors passed out were the Maintenance Profes­sional of the Year, which was awarded to Alan Littrell, the district's Director of Maintenance; and the School Support Professional of the Year, which went to Cheryl Ward, Jennings County High School's Data Pro­cessing and Data Techni­cal Assistant.

"Alan has always said, 'If it's broken, I'm going to repair it,' and he does," noted Roy Herr, JCSC Director of Facili­ties and Security, who presented Littrell with the award. "In my 40 years in the maintenance field, I have never met an individual with so many abilities."
Ward, meanwhile, was recognized in part for her tenure that started at Zenas Elementary School in 1980 and moved to JCHS three years later.

"Cheryl has worked at JCHS with every principal the building has had during its history," noted JCHS Principal Dustin Roller in making the presentation. "Cheryl is a vital piece of the JCHS family. I can't imagine beginning at JCHS as a principal without having her by my side. She has an amazing heart for our school, community, students and staff. It's amazing to get to work beside her every day."

Both Littrell and Ward will also be up for state awards by merit of being chosen for the JCSC honors.

Last year's JCSC award winners were Charla Cummings of Brush Creek Elementary School, Teacher of the Year; Maintenance Pro­fessional of the Year, Roy Herr; and School Support Professional of the Year, Ann Miles. Herr and Miles were later named the 2019 winners by the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association.

"We know this is only one night, but we hope it helps to illuminate and celebrate the careers of our very dedicated and outstanding staff," Brown noted. "Our teachers and staff give all of themselves to make a positive difference for our kids.

"It is important to stop and recognize that effort and celebrate their work. Our people are the heart of JCSC. I have been many places in my 34 years in education. Jennings County is special. It is important to me to share our story and celebrate the lives of our unsung heroes," she added.





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