As this school year comes to an end, ESS has selected and awarded winners for our 8th Annual Impact Awards! The Impact Award was created in 2014 to recognize employees based on frequency of work, feedback from our partner school district(s), and a commitment to exceed the expectations of their role.
This year, we honored seven individuals who make an impact on the schools they serve every day. With a positive attitude, they perpetually perform above and beyond their assigned duties. The 2022 honorees were each recognized at their school districts, where they received a $500 cash prize, an additional $500 to donate to their school of choice, and a crystal apple trophy.
Without further adieu, here are this years winners (in no particular order):
Freeland High School, MI
Justin Aguirre has worked for ESS since 2017. He works in a permanent Support Services role as a custodian. He serves Freeland High School within the Freeland Community School District in Michigan. He decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.
Freeland High School Superintendent Matt Casy said: ” Justin is an exceptionally hard worker who continually goes above and beyond to help his custodial team, our parents, our students, and our school. Justin is always available with a willing response and a smile on his face when called on to assist.
Specific details are hard to pinpoint, as his work ethic and service are exceptionally consistent. It would be easier to share the times Justin has not been available, helpful, kind, and thoughtful – NEVER. Justin makes a difference in our school by always modeling the culture we strive to portray in our buildings. We are a better school because of staff like Justin.
I cannot think of a more deserving employee, or a better person, to recognize. I am confident that this nomination would be replicated by others (students, parents, staff) if they were able to do so and know that Justin continually exceeds my expectations as to what a Freeland custodian, or any employee, should be – exceptional.”
Northville Elementary School, CT
Manolita Gude has filled nearly 600 absences since joining ESS in 2018. She primarily serves at Northville Elementary School within the New Milford School District in Connecticut. She decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.
The Northville Elementary School principal said: “I have been working alongside Manolita Gude since I began as principal of Northville Elementary School. I could not be more impressed with a substitute teacher in my 24 years as an educator. Her professionalism with students, families, and staff is unwavering.
She began the year off as a preschool long-term substitute. This position was important because the families had just learned that the teacher they expected to work with for the year was unable to stay in New Milford. Manolita welcomed the families and students like a true professional – we always say she should get an honorary teaching degree! She did an amazing job establishing a well-run classroom and when the new teacher came in, it was a seamless transition.
In between that time and now , Manolita has been a Quarantine Teacher, 2nd-grade teacher, Art teacher, and all other positions in the school. She is the perfect example of an ESS employee – Manolita arrives early each day for her assignment, works hard during the school day, and ends the day making sure all students are well cared for.”
Allie Ward Elementary School, TX
Beth Dukes has served Abilene ISD as an ESS substitute since 2020, primarily in the deaf education department of Allie Ward Elementary School- Home of the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf. She chose to award the school the $500 donation check.
Deaf Teacher Leta Machogu said: “Beth is exceptional in every way. She is a perfect role model for our Deaf students. She is Deaf herself and proud to share how much she loves being who she is. She encourages our students to embrace who they are and remember how much they gain from their Deafness and the community. She invests in their education and pushes them to work hard and be their best.”
Deaf Education Teacher Meghan Martin at Allie Ward Elementary School said, “Being in deaf education our subs are few and far between. We have had years where we don’t have a single sub at all. Days off just weren’t a thing, whether we were sick, had appointments, or even when we needed a personal day. I just want an option. Beth has been a Godsend to our district and to our deaf education program! She is kind and patient, and I know my kids are getting the best possible education when I am away!! This is huge for teachers, trusting that our kiddos will be safe, educated, and loved. And Beth does just that.”
Cotaco School, AL
Angela Simms has been substituting with ESS since 2021. She has worked nearly 200 absences in her time with ESS. She primarily serves Cotaco Junior High within Morgan County School District in Alabama. She decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.
Special Education Teacher at Cotaco School Nikki Shedd said: “Mrs. Angela Simms entered our lives & classroom at a time like no other. Covid was ramped up, so we didn’t know from day to day if we would meet remotely or on campus. Although Mrs. Angela had a family of her own, she quickly became one of us. She has pushed through and helped us persevere as a team! It has never crossed my mind that she is employed through ESS. From day one, Mrs. Angela has always jumped in where & when needed. She has never refused to do anything needed, such as diaper changes, feeding, behavior challenges, etc. & even fills in for our campus minibuses when needed. We are so blessed to be able to work as a team together, which is evident through our students & classroom environment.”
A Philip Randolph Career Academies, FL
Brenda Goodman has been substituting with ESS since 2019. She has been a part of the ESS team since the first day ESS partnered with Duval County Public Schools and has worked almost every day since. She chose to award the $500 donation check to A Philip Randolph Career Academies.
A Philip Randolph Career Academies Secretary Sue Prieto said: “Ms. Goodman is a ray of sunshine and is a major part of our team at A. Philip Randolph. Every day she walks through the door and asks, “Do you need my help?” She is always willing to go above and beyond and genuinely cares about the students as well as the faculty and staff. I refer to her as both Wonder Woman and a one-woman army. She is our superhero. She is always ready to take on anything and everything. She is a constant on our campus. We are so thankful she chooses to come to our school. We would be lost without her. Ms. Goodman retired several years and continues to work full time in her second career as a substitute. She is in a unique position. She has the energy level of a young person and the experience and wisdom from all her many years of work.”
Grantsville Junior High School, UT
Eric Johnson has been substituting with ESS since 2019. Since joining ESS, he has worked nearly 200 absences. He primarily serves Grantsville Junior High within the Tooele County School District in Utah. He decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.
Grantsville Junior High School secretary Sheri Johnson said: “Eric is a sub who is in our building often. He does a fantastic job. Not only does he follow lesson plans well (which several of our teachers have said), he very often meets up with teachers beforehand to make sure he knows what to teach and how to help the students. He is popular with the students; they request him when they are made aware that there will be a sub. They often come to the office and tell us how much they like Mr. Johnson. Students have expressed how much Mr. Johnson cares. They have expressed how kind he is. What more can be said? Eric Johnson is someone who is impressing teachers, students, and administration. He goes the extra mile. He is loved and appreciated. There cannot be a more deserving employee.”
South Mountain Elementary School, NJ
Shebon Clarke has been working for ESS since 2019. She works in a permanent Support Services role as a paraprofessional. She serves at South Mountain Elementary School within the School District of South Orange & Maplewood. She decided to honor the school by selecting them to receive the $500 donation check.
A teacher at South Mountain Elementary School said: “Ms. Shebon Clarke is the paraprofessional for our double Kindergarten class at SMS BIg School. This class has two teachers, Ms. Clarke, and 39 Kindergarten students (yes I said 39 students) and the class runs like clockwork. I have been at South Mountain for three years and Ms. Clarke is our most consistent paraprofessional, and we appreciate the work that she does. The assistant superintendent was in the classroom a couple of weeks ago and thought Ms. Clarke was the classroom teacher.”