XENIA — Xenia schools recognized the district’s 2020 teacher and staff member of the year awards Wednesday.
Co-teachers of the year are Denise Garrett, a fifth grade teacher at McKinley Elementary, and Mary Miller, an English teacher at Xenia High School. The staff member of the year is Jill Posey, the children with disabilities data specialist for the district.
“We love to support our students by recognizing their efforts, but it is equally important to recognize the work that takes place in our buildings day in and day out by our staff members — often without any expectation of notice,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton. “Teachers and staff members often tell us that they do what they do because they love the students and want them to succeed, and being able to recognize and reward that attitude and those behaviors is what makes these recognitions so special.”
In previous years, these annual awards were presented at convocation in August, prior to the beginning of school. Award presentations were delayed due to the changes in the schedule, and the later start of the 20-21 school year.
“This may not have been the year to bring a large group of people together to celebrate, but it is definitely the year to honor our dedicated staff members who make learning happen every day at Xenia Schools,” Lofton said.
Posey is a 26-year veteran of Xenia Community Schools. Posey worked for 10 years as a bus driver before becoming an education assistant. In 2006, she began her work as a building secretary, and then in 2012 moved to the central office as the receptionist. In 2014, she became the children with disabilities data specialist in the Special Education Department, where she serves as an integral member of the team, providing direct support for the special education staff.
Miller, a 1996 graduate of Xenia High School, attended Miami University and majored in secondary communications education. She began teaching at Xenia High School in 2000, and received her master’s degree in 2004. Miller became the head of the English department in 2012, and is currently serving as a member of the XHS Building Leadership Team, the XCS District Leadership Team, and as a resident educator mentor. She has served as advisor to many student clubs including National Honor Society, Student Council, Speech Club, and the Athena Club. She is also a five-time recipient of the Howard Post Excellence in Education Award.
Garrett is in her 30th year of teaching, 23 with Xenia Community Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Dayton and her master’s degree from Wright State University and holds endorsements in reading and special education from University of Dayton and Wright State respectively. She began her teaching career at St. Brigid Catholic School and started her career at XCS as a kindergarten teacher at Tecumseh Elementary School before transferring to Arrowood Elementary School. At McKinley she has proved to be an integral, versatile teaching team member who has been asked to teach several different grade levels. She is trained in reading recovery and continues to be passionate about reading and teaching children to read. Presently, she teaches fifth grade language arts and social studies. Garrett participates in PTO, and before and after school events such as the Lego Robotics tournament, and Science is Fun Camp.
Nominations for awards were submitted at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, and the criteria for each award is based on the expectations and high standards set for Xenia students. Nominations highlight the employee’s qualifications and dedication to the job, willingness to help colleagues and others, their character, and more, according to district officials.
Each awardee received a $1,000 stipend as part of the recognition.