The Delaware Department of Education is honoring 20 educational support professionals for their outstanding work supporting their students and school communities.
“Educational support professionals’ roles vary greatly. They provide one-on-one support to students in the classroom. They safely transport children to and from school. They keep our buildings clean and safe. They provide nutritious meals so our children have the focus and energy to learn. They keep our offices running. They support the technological needs of classrooms. And so much more. Their work often is behind the scenes and rarely do these employees get recognized for how important they are to the success of our schools,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said.
“Each of these employees and the many colleagues they represent across our state deserve our gratitude. I’m honored to be able to recognize these educational support professionals for their outstanding contributions.”
Now in its fourth year, the Delaware State Educational Support Professional of the Year program recognizes outstanding service by school employees who provide direct or indirect services to students and their families. The Delaware Charter School Network is also invited to participate.
Employees considered for the award include:
From those nominated at a building level, one educational support professional of the year moves forward to represent each district or the charter school community in the state program.
Each district/charter network winner receives a $2,000 personal award from the winner’s district or charter school. The state program then chooses one person annually to serve as Delaware's Educational Support Professional of the Year. The state winner receives an additional $3,000 personal award from Delaware Department of Education as well as $5,000 to be used for the educational benefit of his or her students.
The 2024 state winner will take over the title from 2023 Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year Heather Hitchens, a paraprofessional at Lake Forest Central Elementary School in the Lake Forest School District.
A selection committee made up of Delaware Department of Education and non- Delaware Department of Education judges is reviewing the local winners' state applications, and the state honoree will be announced at Delaware’s statewide ESPOY celebration Dec. 5 in Dover. The event will be live-streamed to Delaware Department of Education’s YouTube and Facebook accounts following the dinner portion of the evening.
The 2024 honorees are: