March 9, 2020
Wakulla County School Board honored the March Teachers and Employee of the Month at the March 9 School Board Meeting.
“On behalf of the Wakulla County School Board, we are pleased to recognize teachers Christy Byrne and Bethany Pafford plus Data Entry clerk Mikki Wilson for their dedication to Wakulla County Schools and to all of our students,” said Superintendent of Wakulla County Schools Bobby Pearce.
Christy Byrne was selected by her Crawfordville Elementary School faculty as their March Teacher of the Month. She is in her 17th year as an educator.
Byrne worked as a classroom teacher at CES for 14 years, then switched to become a teacher of students with varying exceptionalities. She is in her 3rd year as a VE teacher, currently working with children in grades kindergarten through 2.
Growing up in Cairo, Georgia, Byrne graduated from Cairo High School, earned an Associate of Arts degree at Bainbridge Junior College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Flagler College in Tallahassee.
“I enjoy helping my students overcome barriers that are preventing them from learning, and helping them learn the ways that they learn best. Watching them grow confident, take chances, and develop pride in themselves when they accomplish a goal is the most rewarding part of my job.
“I was recently teaching a group of my students the skill of r-controlled vowels. I showed up dressed as a pirate. Every time we came to a word with –ar, I flipped my eye patch down and talked like a pirate. I continued with a surfer dude for –ur words.
“Needless to say, they no longer confuse the two vowel sounds and many of them will use a pirate or a surfer voice while sounding out unknown words!” recounts Byrne.
She also serves as the ESE (Exceptional Student Education) representative on the CES Sunshine Committee.
“Christy is a pleasure to work with. She will change her schedule, location or lesson plan to make sure every student who needs help receives it. She has a true heart for children and it shows with her dedication to her craft,” adds CES Principal Louis Hernandez.
Riversprings Middle School chose Associate Dean Bethany Pafford as their March Teacher of the Month.
A Wakulla County native, Pafford attended Sopchoppy and Medart Elementary Schools, Wakulla Middle School, and graduated from Wakulla High School.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from FSU, and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.
While in college, Pafford worked as an AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) tutor at the Wakulla middle and high schools and was hired right after graduation from FSU as a co-teacher at Wakulla Middle School.
Pafford spent her first 8 years of teaching at Medart Elementary, Wakulla High School, and Wakulla Middle School. She now serves as Associate Dean of Student Services at RMS and is also a Teacher Coach.
“I love watching my students problem solve and grow from difficult experiences. Middle school is difficult socially, academically, and physically. My position gives me the opportunity to work with students who are struggling in any various areas of life and guide them to find solutions."
“Over the years they are with us, I am able to watch them develop life skills and put those skills to use. I love seeing students overcome life’s challenges and seeing the pride they have when they learn they have the power and skills to reach their goals,” says Pafford.
Adds RMS Principal Michele Yeomans, “In the role of Associate Dean, Bethany is the ESE Coordinator and leads our Mental Health Support Services. She also assists with state testing plus teaches an intensive math class.
“Bethany is a true team player and will jump in and assist wherever needed. She has a true love for the students at RMS and it shows daily.”
Data Entry Clerk Mikki Wilson is the Riversink Elementary School March Employee of the Month. She began at RES as a paraprofessional in 2017 and now has been in Data Entry for almost two years.
Wilson grew up in Alabama and earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She spent her first 5 years after college working as an Administrative Assistant in the business world.
After moving to Wakulla for her husband’s job, she says, “I fell in love with Riversink the first time I stepped into the school. It has been a blessing not only to work here but also to see my own children thrive at RES.
“I have the opportunity to work with one of the best office staffs. They welcomed me with open arms. I love seeing the children every day and watching them grow and thrive each year. Just to know that I play a part in putting a smile on a child’s face makes each day even better.”
Wilson also serves as the RES Volunteer Coordinator and helps with the RES Yearbook.
“Mikki is a tremendously valued member of our Riversink staff. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to do just about anything to help our school. She is always on time and willing to stay late, is detail-oriented, and has an excellent work ethic.
“She has a great relationship with our faculty and staff. Overall, Riversink is blessed to have her in our family,” says RES Principal Simeon Nelson.