Each year the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System recognizes support staff such as nurses, paraprofessionals, custodians, cafeteria workers, media clerks, counselor clerks, and secretaries. Each school chooses a site-based representative who then competes to be named the District's Instructional Support Person of the Year (ISPY). The District's 2023 ISPY was named at the annual reception held Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 6:30pm at Woodville Tompkins Lower Campus.
Nurse Natalie Sauers of Jacob G. Smith Elementary School was chosen for the honor. After graduating from Georgia Southern University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she went straight into working at Telfair Birthplace at Candler Hospital. Her passion was being a Mother-Baby Nurse and she thoroughly enjoyed attending to the physical and emotional needs of her female patients along with their newborns. In addition to her three years as school nurse in Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, she's a member of the National Association of School Nurses and completes nursing education courses annually. She says, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public school nurses have served on the front lines, not only treating students but also educating students and their families about the virus, tracing their contacts, and delivering self-isolation guidance." She says her love for children and her ability to help them felt more like a calling than a job. She believes one of the greatest values of public education is the critical role nurses play in improving population health outcomes by educating communities and delivering care within them. Nurse Sauers could not attend the reception. Her Assistant Principal Dr. Channil Scott-Brown was there to accept the honor for her.
The Instructional Support Person of the Year (ISPY) will act as a representative for all Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools' instructional support personnel. Responsibilities include: serving on the Superintendent's Professional Senate, providing updates during monthly School Board Meetings, serving on the ISPY Selection Committee and acting as an advocate for the school system. The four finalists for our 2023 Instructional Support Person of the Year were also announced at the reception with the top scorer in the application process then being announced as the winner.
The four finalists were:
Mrs. Ruthie Smoak, Administrative Secretary for Largo-Tibet Elementary School
Mr. Travis Perry, Behavior Intervention Paraprofessional for Andrea B. Williams Elementary School
Mrs. Julie Lee Linton, SPED Paraprofessional for Garden City Elementary School
Nurse Kanitha Black, School Nurse for Garrison School for the Arts
Each candidate for ISPY completes an application which is read and evaluated by community readers using a rubric.