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Gwendolyn Gillespie, center, celebrates the honor with Georgetown Elementary School Assistant Principals Jennifer Orlen, left, and Beth Illian, right.

Gwendolyn Gillespie of Georgetown Elementary School has been named Indian River School District (IRSD) Educational Support Professional of the Year for 2021-2022!

Gillespie is a paraprofessional who works with special-needs students in Georgetown Elementary’s Intensive Learning Center (ILC). She was described by colleagues as an exceptional team player whose support has helped numerous students make tremendous gains, both academically and socially. She has been praised for the compassion, patience and dedication she exhibits in her work with students and staff.

“The many students that I’m involved with in the elementary setting are priceless,” Gillespie stated. “To know that I’m a part of their learning is beyond words. My philosophy is, and always will be, we as educators have been chosen to make a difference in every student’s life. We must meet the needs of every student who is under our care for the seven and a half hours we are all together during that day.”

The State of Delaware launched this recognition program in 2020 to recognize the exemplary efforts of school employees in a support position. Gillespie was chosen as the Indian River School District’s overall winner from a pool of 16 candidates, one from each school and the district office. She will now compete for the honor of 2022 Delaware State Educational Support Professional of the Year.

IRSD school winners included:

  • Lynn Baker, Long Neck Elementary School;
  • Sylvia Baker, District Office;
  • Ashley Bennett, Lord Baltimore Elementary School;
  • Jamaal Bivens, Indian River High School;
  • Eddie Bowen, Millsboro Middle School;
  • Lenny Brittingham, Georgetown Middle School;
  • Chris Budesheim, Howard T. Ennis School;
  • Gwendolyn Gillespie, Georgetown Elementary School (overall winner);
  • Esque Hodge, Southern Delaware School of the Arts;
  • Amy Johnson, Selbyville Middle School;
  • Colette Press-Spady, East Millsboro Elementary School;
  • Cassie Queen, John M. Clayton Elementary School;
  • Randy Ramirez, Sussex Central High School;
  • Tara Richards, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School;
  • Maria Rodriguez, North Georgetown Elementary School; and
  • Dan Shively, IRSD Early Learning Center.