2021-22 Support Employee of the Year

2021-22 Support Employee of the Year
Posted on 05/16/2022
2021-22 Support Employee of the Year Wendy OwensWendy Owens, the COVID-19 Coordinator for Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS), has been selected as the 2021-22 HCPS Support Employee of the Year.

Owens, who has worked for HCPS for four years and as a nurse for 21 years, was selected by a panel that included school-based representatives who touted her work throughout the pandemic to serve students, staff, and families across the county.

“I am so honored to receive this award and to be a part of such a dedicated team,” said Owens, thanking her family, fiancé, friends, and co-workers for their patience, kindness, and support. “Navigating the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, and Hanover County Public Schools really stepped up to the challenge so that our staff and students could return to the classroom. HCPS staff at all levels work diligently every day to make this happen and to keep everyone safe while at school.”

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, made the surprise announcement on Thursday, May 12 during a staff meeting at the School Board Office in Ashland.

Health Services Coordinator Terry Woody said she is “very proud and pleased” that Owens received the recognition.

“She has worked extremely hard for the past two years during the pandemic. Her steadfast dedication to Hanover County Public Schools is amazing,” Woody said. “She has led us through a very trying time with grace and kindness. Our success during the pandemic has greatly been influenced by Wendy’s leadership.”

Mandy Baker, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, said Owens learned as much as possible about COVID-19, including the evolving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health, and helped lead schools across the county in implementing mitigation measures.

“While managing this disease in our schools required the assistance of many people in the county, Wendy was the first line of communication with many of our students and staff members who tested positive for COVID-19,” Baker said. “Wendy took time with each person to listen and explain the ramifications of their positive test result. Many people were scared or frightened, not only about how the disease could impact them personally, but also how it could impact those with whom they lived. Wendy never rushed through those conversations and made such an effort to comfort each person.”

HCPS employs more than 1,000 support employees in order to accomplish its mission. Each year, one employee wins this distinguished award. It is given to an employee who exhibits several qualities, such as: provides unique and exceptional contributions to the school division; demonstrates commitment through quality job performance and a positive attitude; demonstrates leadership; seeks to enhance their skills and knowledge; and, fosters cooperation and positive relationships with colleagues, students, teachers, administrators, and the school community.

This year marks the second consecutive year that a nurse has received the recognition. Meagan Forster, the school nurse at Atlee High School, was selected last year.
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