Chief Human Resources Officer John Mirra welcomed guests to the “celebration of service, loyalty, dedication and commitment to Virginia Beach City Public Schools” (VBCPS).
At its annual Employee Service Recognition dinner Jan. 12, the school division recognized the work of more than 250 employees who have been employed with VBCPS for 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years.
Carolyn Cox, a coordinator in the Department of Technology who began her career in 1971 as a math teacher at First Colonial High School, was recognized for her distinction of having 45 years of service.
Mirra noted the growth of the school division since 1971, including the addition of 38 new schools, the Renaissance Academy and the Advanced Technology Center.
“However, as we all know, organizations are not made of bricks and mortar,” Mirra continued. “People are the foundation of any organization. Undeniably, the hard work and loyal dedication of our employees has created a solid foundation for student success.”
Special recognition was also paid to employees in attendance with 40 years of service. Mirra shared a few notes about each honoree.
Susan Baldwin graduated from Princess Anne High School in 1974 and began her VBCPS career two years later at College Park Elementary School as a library/school clerk. She currently works as a customer support technician in the Department of Technology.
Sue Crosland started working for VBCPS as a third-grade teacher at Plaza Elementary School and continues to share her passion for reading as an instructional specialist in the Department of Teaching and Learning.
“Scooter Dave” or David Gurganus, fleet manager in the Office of Transportation Services, began his VBCPS career as an auto-serviceman before being promoted to various leadership roles including becoming a fleet manager in 2013.
Luvond James was hired in 1976 as special education teacher at the Center for Effective Learning before the program’s transfer to Princess Anne High School in 1987. James has been teaching in the high school’s west building ever since.
Three Oaks Elementary School third-grade teacher Marilyn Jernigan was first hired as a teacher at North Landing Elementary School. In addition to be named Teacher of the Year at three elementary schools, she earned the distinction of 2001 VBCPS Citywide Teacher of the Year.
Martha Lewis, recognized as an icon at Princess Anne Middle School, has served her entire 40-year career at the middle school. Hired as a custodian in 1976, Lewis also has worked as an office associate, security assistant and currently serves as the in-school suspension coordinator.
Also serving four decades in one school is Hermitage Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Linda Zeher. She was hired as a fourth-grade teacher in 1976 and remembers when VBCPS Superintendent Aaron Spence was student at Hermitage.
Additional employees with 40 years of service include:
- Edward Askew, Custodian III, Office of Custodial Services
- Mary S. Crommelin, School Improvement Specialist, First Colonial High School
- Edward M. Disharoon, Dean of Students, Bayside Sixth Grade Campus
- Patrick J. Heinz, Transportation Area Supervisor, Office of Transportation Services
- Stanley C. McCanna, Sixth Grade Teacher, Great Neck Middle School
- Minnie E. Nery, Administrative Office Associate II, Office of Safety and Loss Control
- Gloria B. Scott, School Administrative Associate II, Technical and Career Education Center
- Mary T. Swager, Fifth Grade Teacher, Landstown Elementary School
- Kenneth W. Whitney, General Maintenance Craftsman III, Office of School Plant Services