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Shelly Thomas, Youth Service Center Coordinator for the Barren County School District is a recipient of the new KESSP award.
Thomas has been the Youth Service Center Coordinator at Barren County High School for the past three years.
Her job is to works with local agencies to help student/student families.
The award was presented to Thomas via a virtual ceremony last week. The governor was in virtual attendance.
“This new award recognizes classified school employees who have displayed excellence in serving our students,” Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said in introducing the award and the recipients.
“These employees often are the unsung heroes of our school systems,” Glass said. “Classified school employees serve in vital and often overlooked roles, from driving our kids to school to preparing their meals, to working with partner agencies to ensure vital care health needs are met.”
Thomas will be one of two to represent Kentucky in the competition for the RISE Award (Recognizing Inspiring School Employees) this spring.
Bo Matthews, Superintendent of the Barren County School District, applauded Thomas as an above and beyond sort of employee in a recent press release, and has the examples:
When a freshman was diagnosed with cancer, Thomas helped the student’s family during treatment and for months after the student lost their battle with cancer.
She helped a single mother leave domestic violence, finding a hotel room, and offering to pick up the woman’s daughter on an hour’s notice, then helped her get housing through a local agency the next day.
She also helped a mother seeking to regain custody of her children after time in rehab when a judge referred the woman to Thomas. Thomas helped the mother find a job and housing, worked with the woman’s counselor and met with the woman’s children.
Further, Matthews said Thomas makes Barren County’s students and their parents feel respected and loved, while Thomas commended Barren County Schools with supporting her work, and said many others work alongside her.
She said her job is about building relationships and that key was consistency.
“My prayer every morning is exactly the same: ‘God, give me the grace and the wisdom to love like you love, and to serve with joy in my heart,’” Thomas said.