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CALHOUN, GA - Two Gordon County Schools (GCS) employees have been nominated for the 2022 Georgia Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award. The second annual award, passed by Congress in 2019 and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service. 

Mr. Joseph Marycz, Media Lab Technician Paraprofessional at Tolbert Elementary, and Mrs. Jessica Childers, Pre-K Paraprofessional at Sonoraville Elementary are the 2021-22 Georgia RISE award nominees from Gordon County Schools.

Classified school employees are defined as employees of a state or any political subdivision of a state, or an employee of a nonprofit entity, who works in any grade from pre-kindergarten through high school in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades.

Nominees of this award were required to demonstrate excellence in several areas including work performance; school and community involvement, leadership and commitment, local support, and enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.

Mr. Joseph (Joey) Marycz is the Media Lab Technician Paraprofessional at Tolbert Elementary. Mr. Marycz is a pillar of the Gordon County Schools community. He continually exceeds expectations as the Media Paraprofessional at TES, collaborating with teachers and staff to provide innovative lesson plans to students, overseeing the TES technology inventory and deployment, and serving as the communications representative for local stakeholders and families.

Marycz is a steward for Tolbert Elementary (TES), serving in additional roles as the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Treasurer, planning school events such as Parent Engagement Nights and Fall Festivals, and attending school sporting events at other GCS schools. He is also a highly involved member of the local community, volunteering his time with the county-wide Special Olympics, ‘A Night to Shine’ and supporting local agencies including the Coulter Hampton Foundation and United Way.

“Mr. Marycz exhibits a high commitment to Tolbert Elementary and Gordon County Schools,” said Shelley Allen, Principal of Tolbert Elementary. “He always gives 100% and serves on many committees hat keep our school running efficiently. His professional and positive demeanor improve how all classified personnel are perceived by students, staff and the community.”

Jessica Childers is a Pre-K Paraprofessional at Sonoraville Elementary (SES). Mrs. Childers goes above and beyond for her students, striving to meet the needs of every student in her classroom. She is known for being very intuitive and genuinely caring for each student at SES. “Mrs. Childers looks for new ways to meet the needs of the whole child, whether that means purchasing an extra meal for a child who is hungry, buying clothes, or setting up a calming space in her classroom,” Stacey Cohea, Sonoraville Elementary School Counselor wrote in recommendation.

Outside of SES, Mrs. Childers spends her time volunteering with several GCS organizations and clubs. Childers is actively involved as the sponsor of the Color Guard at Sonoraville High School, spending her summers, evenings, and weekends at practices, games, or competitions. In addition to her work with the Color Guard, she also volunteers her time to support the Robotics Club at Sonoraville Elementary.

Mrs. Childers was also described as a mentor at Sonoraville Elementary. “She gives advice and is a resource to those new in Pre-K,” stated Kathryn Worley, Reading Interventionist at Sonoraville Elementary School. “Because of her willingness to share ideas and support her colleagues, the pre-k program at Sonoraville Elementary is one of the most successful programs in our district.”  

The winners of the 2021-22 Georgia RISE Award will be honored at the 2022 Georgia Teacher of the Year awards banquet. The winners will also be nominated by the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, to be representatives as Georgia’s nominees for the national RISE Award.