The School District of Manatee County's Support Employee of the Year will be announced Feb. 5.
Three East County school support staff members have earned nominations to be the School District of Manatee County’s Support Employee of the Year.
Amie Golden, a registrar at Gene Witt Elementary School; Martha Stroup, a senior school secretary at Freedom Elementary School; and Christal Cashmore, a paraprofessional at Myakka City Elementary School, join Alison Cooper, a clerical assistant at Williams Elementary School, as finalists.
The support staff members will find out the winner at the district’s Excellence in Education Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Manatee Technical College’s main campus.
In Golden’s 19 years at Gene Witt, she has helped thousands of children and their families become enrolled in school.
“I get to know them from the minute they walk in the door to register their kids, and I get to see them all the way from either [voluntary pre-K] or kindergarten all the way through,” Golden said. “I have enjoyed all of the families and the community and everything we get to accomplish every day here.”
Golden started her career with School District of Manatee County at Gene Witt when her children, Megan Hawkins and Ryan and Hailey Golden, were students at the school. Golden said her family moved to Mill Creek for her children to attend Gene Witt.
She began as a clerical assistant and has spent the past 12 years as the registrar.
“I love every minute of it,” she said. “It’s great getting to know all the families that are here.”
David Marshall, principal at Gene Witt, said Golden is always warm, friendly and excited to work at the school.
“I’m glad they’re honoring Amie for her hard work and recognize she is a great example of what any organization would look for,” Marshall said. “She truly does take her job to heart and works hard to make sure all records are accurate.”
Stroup, senior school secretary at Freedom Elementary, has held three positions at Freedom Elementary School.
Stroup started as a paraprofessional 10 years ago after being a stay-at-home mom taking care of her children, T.J. Lopez and Nicole and Ryan Stroup. Her family had just moved from Colorado, and she wanted something to do.
Then in 2012, she became a clerical attendance clerk until July of this year, when she transitioned to being the senior school secretary.
“I love interacting with the children and parents and getting to know them,” she said. “At the front desk, you really get to know everybody.”
Although Stroup is only in her first year as a senior school secretary, Freedom Principal Guy Grimes said she is tackling her new position “head on, and she’s doing a great job.”
Grimes described Stroup as dedicated, hard-working and focused as well as someone who “brings joy to situations.”
“Even in tough moments, she’s able to make people smile and think positive thoughts,” he said. “She’s an encourager.”
Stroup said that she was shocked to learn she was a finalist for Support Employee of the Year.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but exciting,” she said. “I’m very honored. It’s exciting to know people actually take the time to acknowledge certain people.”
Cashmore, a paraprofessional at Myakka City Elementary, started substituting for the school nine years ago while attending college for music.
After three years as a substitute, she switched jobs and became a paraprofessional at the school.
“The school is a smaller feel, and you get to know everybody,” Cashmore said. “It’s like a family.”
Myakka City Principal Carol Ricks described Cashmore as a “giver.”
“She naturally wants to do whatever it takes to be sure the students and our staff have what they need to be able to be successful,” said Ricks, who is in her first year as principal at the school.
When the district announced Cashmore as a finalist for Support Employee of the Year, she was shocked.
“I almost cried because I was so overwhelmed,” she said. “I could barely even talk.”
Ricks said she wasn’t surprised because she knew what the district was looking for in the Support Employee of the Year, and Cashmore fit the bill. Ricks said the district is looking for someone who not only impacts the school but the community as well.
“My first day, she came in the summer with a huge carload of backpacks she had her church donate full of supplies for the kids,” she said. “She saw there was a need and went and found a way to make it happen.”