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Indian River High School IT technician David Clark

The first Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year Program has had 20 educational support professionals selected to represent their districts or the Delaware Charter School Network.

“Educational support professionals provide vital services for our students and teachers. They are the paraprofessionals who often work with our students one-on-one or in small groups to provide the individualized instructional support some students need. They are the bus drivers and aides who safely transport our children to and from school daily,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said

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Sussex Technical High School Technology Coordinator Philip Wilson

“They are the custodial staff and office personnel who keep our schools running each day. They are the nutrition staff workers who make sure our children have the healthy meals they need to concentrate on learning. They are the technology staff helping students access instruction in person or from home. These are just a few examples of the crucial roles educational support personnel play in our schools. I laud each of these nominees for his or her outstanding work and look forward to honoring one of them with the state award.”

Launching this year, the Delaware State Educational Support Professional of the Year (ESPY) program recognizes outstanding service by school employees who provide direct or indirect services to students and their families. The Delaware Charter School Network also is invited to participate. Employees considered for the award include:

• Paraprofessionals

• Custodial staff

• Secretaries

• Nutritional staff

• School- and district-employed bus drivers

• School- and district-employed bus aides

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 $1,000 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. State winners receive an additional $1,500 personal award from DDOE, as well as $2,500 to be used for the educational benefit of his or her students.

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Richard Shields Elementary paraprofessional Chantal Smith

A selection committee reviewed the local winners’ state applications, and Bunting will name the first Delaware winner on Friday, Nov. 20. That person will serve as the 2021 Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year.

“DDOE is excited to recognize these outstanding professionals whose work is vital to students’ success,” officials said.

Nominees from the area include Richard Shields Elementary paraprofessional Chantal Smith, Indian River High School IT technician David Clark and Sussex Technical High School Technology Coordinator Philip Wilson.

Learn more about the program online at https://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/4330.