Suwannee Democrat


March 13, 2014

Hamilton: Joanie Blue selected district teacher of the year

School-related employee of the year is Amanda Wiggins

Jasper — The Hamilton County School District presented awards to teachers and school-related employees of the year at a special reception on Monday, March 10 inside the Hamilton County High School (HCHS) cafeteria.

Twelve employees throughout the district were selected by their peers to represent the best of the school system.

“It’s a shame we only get to do this once a year, but tonight we’re here to honor the individuals that have been selected the best of the best by their peers in each of the various schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Thomas Moffses. “We need to do these events more often.”

Before the awards were given out, the HCHS AFJROTC presented the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, which was sung by HCHS student Austin Graham.

Principal Lee Wetherington Zamora had the honor of presenting awards to all the chosen teachers and school related employees in the elementary schools, with the assistant principals of each school by her side; Charles Claridy, Central; Peggy Hasty, North; and Allison Scott, South.

Principal Kip McLeod presented the awards for the high school and Casi Burnett presented for Greenwood School.

The long anticipated announcement of District School-Related Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year was given by Supt. Moffses. Amanda Wiggins was named District School-Related Employee of the Year and Joanie Blue was named District Teacher of the Year.

“The teacher of the year process is not what you think,” said Moffses.

A panel convenes and interviews each of the peer-selected teachers of the year from each of the schools, he explained, and then they make their selection for district teacher of the year.

“I’ll tell you, I saw a lot of teacher of the year candidates that were going into those interviews,” Moffses said. “They looked like nervous cats going into a room full of rocking chairs.”

Moffses said he heard great reviews from the interviewers about all of the teacher of the year candidates.

“Congratulations to all of you,” said Moffses.

First Federal graciously provided “goodie bags” for each one of the honorees after they accepted their award plaques from Supt. Moffses.

“We do appreciate First Federal,” said Director of Administrative Services Philip Pinello.

Maisia Daniels and David Williams from the HCHS Music Department offered up two songs for the audience and both received welcome applause from the crowd.

Guidance Counselor Paula Williams offered closing remarks, stating, “I’m thankful for so many blessings tonight, but most especially for support staff and teachers.”

Williams gave special thanks to Supt. Moffses, School Board Members Damon Deas, Gary Godwin, Johnny Bullard, Jeanie Daniels and Sammy McCoy, First Federal Savings Bank of Florida, the HCHS Culinary Arts Department and Music Department, Administration and Custodial Staff, Col. Darrell Davis and the HCHS ROTC cadets, Kathy Combass, D&S Signs, Margaret Owens and Mary Loughran.

Guests were treated to light refreshments after the awards ceremony.

There are more photos online and photos are available for purchase. Go to and click the photo gallery link on the left navigation bar.

2015 Teacher of the Year

Central Hamilton Elementary: Joanie Blue

North Hamilton Elementary: Judy Steedly

South Hamilton Elementary: Julie Law

Hamilton County High School: Geniane Bell

Greenwood School: Renee Daigle

2014 School-Related Employees of the Year

Central Hamilton Elementary: Amanda Wiggins

North Hamilton Elementary: Roxanne Zamora

South Hamilton Elementary: Jocelyn Smith

Hamilton County High School: Wanda Udell

Greenwood School: Suretta Bell

General Services: Joe Mattox

District Offices: Cindy Pittman

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