ORANGE PARK | Two Clay County school district veterans recently were honored as the county’s Teacher of the Year, and school-related Employee of the Year.
Jason Poole, who teaches AICE Global Perspectives at Fleming Island High School, was named district Teacher of the Year. Stephanie Melton, an Exceptional Student Education behaviorial health assistant at W. E. Cherry Elementary School, was recognized as district school-related Employee of the Year. They were honored by their peers, school district leaders, students, family and friends during a Jan. 23 school district ceremony at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park.
“Mr. Poole and Ms. Melton represent the core values of our school district and act as exemplars for everyone in our profession,” said Superintendent Addison Davis, adding he was honored to work alongside them and their talented colleagues.
“This prestigious honor is well-deserved as both employees have garnered the respect and admiration of the students, parents, and staff in Clay County,” Davis said.
Poole and Melton praised their colleagues as well as their school administrators for their support, and giving them an opportunity to “learn from the best.”
Poole has taught at Fleming Island High School since 2006. He also coaches the school’s cross-country team. Poole graduated from Western New England University with a degree in English Literature in 2005. He and his wife, Courtney, who’s also a teacher at the school, have two children, 3-year-old Ainsley and 10-month-old Elliot.
Melton, who has a degree in Special Needs Education, has served as an ESE assistant for 10 years at W.E. Cherry, where she works with children who have autism. She had been a student at W.E. Cherry Elementary. After working with children in a day-care setting for several years, Melton was seeking a “different pace” with a more educational environment. She ultimately began as a substitute ESE assistant, fell in love with the work and atmosphere and then applied for a full-time position in the school’s autism department.