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  • School District Names 2017 Support Person of the Year

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    May 22, 2017
    Bluffton High School bilingual liaison named district’s 2017 ‘Support Person of the Year’
    BEAUFORT – A Bluffton High School bilingual liaison was named today as the Beaufort County School District’s 2017 “Support Person of the Year.”  The selection of Alexa Mencias was announced at a breakfast recognizing schools’ individual honorees.
    Support staff can also include social workers, school nurses, bookkeepers, office managers, teacher assistants, school secretaries and technology and data specialists. 
    Mencias joined the Beaufort County School District 10 years ago after working in the private sector.  At Bluffton High, she serves as a liaison between the school and its Hispanic students and families, dealing with a wide range of student and family issues.
    “When you have a job you love, it makes a world of difference,” Mencias said.  “I really love connecting with students and connecting with their families.”
    Bluffton High School Principal Denise Garison praised Mencias as “someone with a big heart, someone who’s always got a smile on her face.”
    “She’s so skilled at bridging language and cultural gaps with our Hispanic families,” Garison said, “and she works hard to help students and their parents understand the value of a high school diploma as a step toward a brighter future.”
    Superintendent Jeff Moss said that Mencias is an excellent representative for the school district’s diverse array of support staff.
    “A school’s support staff is its backbone.  It’s the foundation,” Moss said.  “A strong support staff makes it possible for students and teachers to succeed in classrooms.  The people we’re honoring today are critical elements in making schools effective.”
    Mencias was awarded a $250 gas card from Parker’s, which sponsored today’s breakfast.  Parker’s operates 48 convenience stores across southeastern Georgia and South Carolina and opened its first northern Beaufort County store in Port Royal last year.  Parker’s funded the event through its “Fueling the Community” program, which gives one cent of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of each month to local schools.
    "Providing a high-quality education to students helps to ensure a higher quality of life for everyone in Beaufort County, and Parker’s is happy to sponsor the district’s 2017 Support Person of the Year Awards Breakfast," said CEO Greg Parker. "We congratulate and thank Ms. Mencias for everything she does for the students and parents at Bluffton High School.”
    2016-17 school “Support Personnel of the Year”
    Battery Creek High – Christine Whiteleather, job coach
    Beaufort Elementary – Cathy Power, nurse
    Beaufort High – Julie Gadley, bookkeeper
    Beaufort Middle – Sheral Spencer, media assistant
    Bluffton Elementary, ECC – Diloris Contreras, bilingual liaison
    Bluffton High – Alexa Mencias, bilingual liaison
    Bluffton Middle -- Catherine Woloszyk, office manager
    Broad River Elementary -- Denise Drake, nurse
    Coosa Elementary – Sandra Gardener, administrative associate
    H.E. McCracken Middle -- Michael Viskovich, administrative associate
    Hilton Head Island ECC – Anne Jacoby, nurse
    Hilton Head Island High -- Katie O’Sullivan, administrative assistant
    Hilton Head Island IB Elementary – Jennifer French, special education assistant
    Hilton Head Island Middle – Barbara Perry, administrative assistant
    Hilton Head Island SCA – Margaret Borasky, nurse
    Islands Academy – Andrea Murray, social worker
    Lady's Island Elementary – Jana Sanders, office manager and bookkeeper
    Lady's Island Middle – Kathleen Bingham, social worker
    May River High –  Linda Dietz, office manager
    Michael C. Riley Elementary – Alia Delong, media assistant
    Mossy Oaks Elementary -- Webster Ogle, behavior management specialist
    Okatie Elementary – Lynn Nagel, administrative assistant
    Port Royal Elementary – Elizabeth Bornscheuer, teacher assistant
    Pritchardville Elementary – Alicia Baruffi, bilingual liaison
    Red Cedar Elementary – Helena Williams, kindergarten assistant
    River Ridge Academy – Deborah Wilkerson, media assistant
    Robert Smalls International Academy – Toni Burnsed, system support specialist
    Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary – Daryl Harris, behavior management specialist
    St. Helena Elementary – Denise Simmons, behavior management specialist
    Whale Branch Elementary/Davis – Cheryl Morris, media assistant
    Whale Branch Early College High – Virginia Henneberry, office manager
    Whale Branch Middle – Marion Smalls, behavior interventionist
    District Office – Catherine Waskiewicz, technology program manager
    Adult Education -- Dorothy Gregory, administrative associate
    Beaufort-Jasper ACE – Maribel Bueso-Welch, bilingual liaison

    Jim Foster, Director of Communications
    james.foster@beaufort.k12.sc.us, (843)322-2432