On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, Terri Vaughn, Innovation Academy building secretary, was named the 2020-2021 Howell Public Schools Support Person of the Year. Vaughn was surprised with the award by Erin J. MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent, and John LaGalo, Innovation Academy principal. Members of the Innovation Academy staff and Vaughn’s husband were also present for the surprise. The Support Person of the Year award honors an outstanding paraprofessional, general education aide, copy clerk, mentor, hall monitor, food service employee, maintenance worker, secretary, main office clerk, library services coordinator, bookkeeper, or computer technician.
“I feel so honored being named the Support Person of the Year,” Vaughn said. “The students and staff are the people who make me love my job and this award is for all our Innovation Academy Family.”
Several students and staff members nominated Vaughn for the Support Person of the Year Award. Each nomination noted how Vaughn makes both the students and staff at Innovation Academy feel welcomed and cared for. The nominations also mentioned that Vaughn is always willing to go above and beyond her job duties to support her students.
“She’s (Vaughn) always there for everyone whenever someone needs anything. She’d never turn down anyone looking for help! Everyone always feels welcomed and secure, everyday Terri makes the day brighter, and this is my huge thank you to her,” said Makaila Kramp in her nomination of Vaughn.
“Terri is an incredibly dedicated member of the team at Innovation Academy. She is an integral part of the family atmosphere at the school. Terri ensures that every student at Innovation Academy knows how special they are, and she ensures that each student feels safe and comfortable while at school,” said MacGregor.
“There are many special skills that make Mrs. Vaughn stand out. Her organization, intelligence, work ethic, communication, and discipline make her a great asset to the district. However, her caring nature and patience are what separate her from all others,” said LaGalo. “The relationships and encouragement that she fosters helps students to excel academically when previously many did not. Mrs. Vaughn never takes her eyes off the prize, which is to get her students to graduation.”
A committee of 26 district stakeholders comprised of teachers, support staff, parents, a central office administrator, a principal, and a school board member was tasked with selecting this year’s Support Person of the Year. Individually, committee members reviewed the support materials for the 30 support staff members nominated for this year’s award. Each committee member then voted for their top five nominees. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the committee met virtually to review the top five Support Person of the Year nominees resulting from the initial vote. After reviewing these outstanding staff nominations, the committee voted for their top three choices. Following the vote, Vaughn emerged this year’s winner.
The Howell Board of Education will honor Vaughn at its March meeting.