Sophia Melton Named Educational Support Person of the Year

Sophia Melton Photo
Sophia Melton, Calera Elementary School - Educational Support Person of the Year

Sophia Melton, a first-grade special education paraprofessional at Calera Elementary School, was recently honored by the Shelby County Board of Education as Educational Support Person of the Year.

Melton has worked for 17 years for Shelby County Schools, the last two of which have been in her current position. In addition to her role as a paraprofessional at Calera Elementary, she also works for Community Education as the in-charge teacher for the after school care and summer camp programs at Calera Elementary.

Melton was one of six category winners as well as the overall winner of the support award. Others who were honored as category winners were Julie Hughley, bookkeeper and office manager at Montevallo High School, Accounting Winner; Sue Brown, custodian at New Direction, Custodial Winner; Wayne Etress, maintenance technician at Calera High School, Maintenance Winner, Celia Hooks, Human Resources Benefits Secretary at the Central Office, Secetarial Winner; Stan Hubbard, bus driver at Oak Mountain High School, Transportation Winner. Melton was honored as the winner of the Instructional Category.

Melton said she loves her job because of the wonderful opportunity it gives her to positively impact the lives of so many bright and wonderful young minds.

“I get to support, uplift, and witness the greatness that is our future,” she said. “It’s hard to measure the impact I’ve made in the lives of others. It is my hope that I am an encouraging co-worker, ready to lend a helping hand or prayer.”

Melton said it is her goal for her students to be one of their biggest motivators, to show them how important and valued they are, and to contribute to their lives by letting them know they are loved.

Shannon Montgomery, principal of Calera Elementary, said Melton excuses warmth and calm compassion daily as she reinforces the goals of students.

“Her gentle redirections, reminders, and confident disposition are a consistent reassurance to every student she encounters. Gracefully, she adapts to the schedules in order to facilitate progress for her young scholars,” Montgomery said.

“Beyond the students that she serves, she also offers support to students who may need encouragement, a kind smile, and genuine celebrations when milestones are met,” Montgomery added. “Mrs. Melton constantly creates safe spaces for teachers and students. She lends a helping hand and volunteers to aid in the completion of projects that will cater to the achievement and learning environment for students.”

School and department winners who were also honored at the annual event were: Jennifer Hebson, registrar, Calera Intermediate; Kelley Pace, bookkeeper, Calera Middle; Lawrence Lacomb, custodian, Chelsea High; Kaitlyn Gleason, paraeducator, Chelsea Middle; Danyel Horton, paraeducator, Columbiana Middle; Cindy Gasaway, custodian, Chelsea Park Elementary; Jerome Griffin, maintenance technician, Career Technical Educational Center; Beverly Vick, paraprofessional, Elvin Hill Elementary; Thea Kovakas, paraprofessional, Forest Oaks Elementary; Amanda Garcia, Secretary, Helena Elementary; Brittany Fairbanks, paraprofessional, Helena Intermediate; Ashleigh Roberts, registrar, Helena Middle; Dale Porter, paraprofessional, Helena High; Missy Seeley, paraprofessional, Inverness Elementary; Kim Faulkner, receptionist, Linda Nolen Learning Center; McKenzie Miller, paraprofessional, Montevallo Elementary; Mayra Nieto, secretary, Montevallo Middle; Paige Thompson, paraprofessional, Mt Laurel Elementary; Renae Neeley, PreK auxiliary teacher, Oak Mountain Elementary; Susan Johnston, secretary/bookkeeper, Oak Mountain High; Barbara Edwards, Shelby County High; Mike Whitfield, maintenance technician, Shelby County Instructional Services Center, Brittany O’Neal, paraprofessional, Shelby Elementary; April Davis, bookkeeper, Vincent Elementary; Dawn Hood, paraprofessional Vincent Middle/High; and Robert Stricklin, custodian, Wilsonville Elementary.

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