BUCKHANNON – Everyone knows she’s the one responsible for ensuring they have a paycheck, and now, the Upshur County Schools community also knows her as the Service Personnel staff member of the Year.
Stephanie Bennett, coordinator of payroll services for the Upshur County School System, was named as the 2019-2020 school year Service Personnel of the Year.
The announcement was made at the Upshur County BOE Office Wednesday.
Bennett knew she was selected by her peers as the Upshur County Service Personnel of the Year for the Board Office but was lured outside of the office for the countywide surprise presentation by Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus.
Upshur County Finance Director George Carver said Bennett was “everyone’s favorite person twice a month when she completes the payroll.”
“Stephanie is outstanding in the performance of her job duties in a high-pressure position with two hard deadlines to meet each month to prepare payroll timely and accurately. She is always willing to help with other activities and takes on many responsibilities to help keep things moving,” Carver said.
“I had a hard time getting her to come out because she had a few things to do,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said. “This is a great honor because you are selected by your peers.”
Bennett said she started with Upshur County Schools as a substitute in 2002 and came on to work in the Board Office in 2005 as a full-time employee. She said she considers being named the Service Personnel of the Year a real honor and was a little bit surprised because there had been some talk about it in the office.
“I kind of wandered,” Bennett said. “They told me this morning to come outside because there was an emergency across the way, and they needed my assistance. I noticed everyone in the office had started disappearing.”
During Wednesday’s presentation, Bennett said her favorite part of her job was hard to pinpoint.
“I like to contribute to the staff and the students of the county,” she said. “I like to make sure everyone is paid, and I am happy to provide services to all of our students.”
The pandemic has changed so much for so many over the last few months; however, Bennett said her job was not impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I continue to pay folks twice a month, and I am still their favorite person a couple times a month,” Bennett said with a laugh.
Bennett is a member of the West Virginia Association of School Business Officials, which she has been an active part of since 2005. In 2016, she graduated from Pierpont Community College with an associate degree in business. She holds numerous West Virginia service certifications and currently, she is president of the Upshur County Service Personnel Association.
“I commend all of our Upshur County service personnel for their work, especially during the pandemic,” Stankus said. “I want to thank Mrs. Bennett for her work ethic and concern for our community. She has been extremely active in the food delivery and distribution from the beginning and has stepped up in a variety of capacities as we have faced this pandemic. She is, indeed, an ‘essential’ employee.”
In a release from Upshur County Schools, Stankus said the county is very proud to have Bennett to represent the county as the 2019-2020 Service Personnel of the Year and added everyone “wishes her the best as she competes at the state level,” adding the West Virginia State Service Personnel of the Year will be made Oct, 13, 2020, in Charleston.
Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples congratulated Bennett on being selected to represent Upshur County.
“Upshur County service personnel are so important to the school system and to the success of our students,” Samples said. “Our service personnel extend themselves beyond basic required duties each and every day. This has been especially evident during the pandemic; our service personnel have gone above and beyond their call of duty.”
Each Upshur County School selected a school winner for the County Service Personnel of the Year. Those include Homer Brown, BAES; Debbie Rice, B-UHS; Maria Eddy, B-UMS; Barbara Lee, FCES; Rose Sinclair, HES; Angie Starkey, RCES; Sharon Lemons, TES; Miranda Burnside, UES; and Randy Starkey, WDES.
The press release said service personnel create positive relationships with parents, students, co-workers and community members and make Upshur County Schools a positive place to learn. The release goes on to note that these employees have specialized skills and training that:
- make schools safer, healthier and more attractive;
- earn respect and admiration of colleagues and the community;
- demonstrate exceptional skills and dedication to the job;
- display exemplary leadership abilities through active participation in school or district and community activities, and/or by making decisions and delegating effectively and diplomatically;
- exhibit good interpersonal skills;
- utilize in-service and/or training to consistently improve and develop skills; and
- demonstrate exemplary interpersonal skills in communicating with students, families and community members, as well as collaboration with professionals.