Arkadelphia schools to honor 10 staff members

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published October 15, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Kelvin Green

Jodie Daniell, instructional facilitator at Peake Elementary School, is the Arkadelphia School District Teacher of the Year. She will be recognized, along with other teachers and employees, at the Teachers of the Year Reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Arkadelphia City Hall.

ARKADELPHIA — The Arkadelphia School District will recognize Teacher of the Year and Classified Staff of the Year awardees at a reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Arkadelphia Town Hall. The public is invited.

“It is an honor for our school district to recognize the classified and certified staff of the year at the annual Teachers of the Year reception,” said Donnie Whitten, superintendent. “The 10 employees being recognized have demonstrated exceptional dedication in the performance of their positions and have consistently set a positive example for our students and staff to follow.

“We are fortunate to have them working for the Arkadelphia Public Schools, and we are pleased to celebrate them on Tuesday,” he said. “We hope the Arkadelphia community will join us as we thank [the staff members] for their contribution to our district.”

Jodie Daniell of Peake Elementary School will receive special recognition as District Teacher of the Year. B.C. Stanley, also of Peake Elementary School, will be honored as District Employee of the Year.

Other Teacher of the Year awardees are Sandi Tuttle, Perritt Primary School; Becky McBride, Central Primary School; Brandi Cotton, Goza Middle School; and David Gustaveson, Arkadelphia High School.

Other Classified Staff of the Year awardees are Aiga Porter, director of the Early Childhood Center in Gum Springs; James Davis, custodial and maintenance staff at the Early Childhood Center and the administration building; Shane McBride, transportation staff; and Penny Medley, food service staff at Arkadelphia High School.

Daniell, 41, is the instructional facilitator at Peake

Elementary School.

“I was really surprised when I learned I had been selected for the district honor, she said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I am very, very honored.”

Daniell was born in Hot Springs but grew up in Sparkman. She graduated from Sparkman High School in 1994 and from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia in 1988.

“I never intended to be a teacher,” she said, laughing. “I was a mass communications major, and my degree is in mass communications and public relations. But I really never worked in either field.”

Daniell worked for a while in the restaurant business, then moved to Dallas, where she attended a travel agent vocational school and received her certificate in 2005.

“I worked in the travel industry for several years, then moved back home to Sparkman and married my husband, Mike Daniell, whom I had known my whole life,” she said. The couple started a family, and it was a few years before she decided she was ready to go back to work.

“The travel industry was no longer booming, and I had to find something else,” Jodie Daniell said. “I had pushed teaching aside, but God seemed to have another plan for me. I finally realized teaching should have been the route I had taken the first time.”

Daniell went back to school and became a teacher, completing a nontraditional program offered by the Arkansas Department of Education. She completed that in 2006 and began her first teaching job at Nashville Primary School, where she taught third grade for six years. She moved to Arkadelphia and has been at Peake Elementary for six years. She taught fourth grade until this year, when she became the instructional facilitator, working with small groups of students who may be challenged in a variety of ways.

She also works with teachers in developing their curriculums, providing resources they may need.

“This is where my heart is,” Daniell said. “I want to make a big difference in the lives of kids who are struggling.”

Danielle is working on a master’s degree at Henderson State University, focusing on teaching students with dyslexia, and is scheduled to complete that program in December. She hopes to continue her language-therapist training to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist within the next several years.

The Daniells have three sons — Tyler, 22, who recently married his wife, Peytyn; Colby, 14, who is a student at Goza Middle School; and Brady, 9, who is a fourth-grader at Peake Elementary School.

Another honoree, Stanley, 66, is the administrative assistant at Peake Elementary School. She is normally the first person students, teachers and visitors see when they come through the office door. More often than not, she knows them by first name.

“I love my job,” she said, smiling. “I could have retired four years ago, but what would I have done?

“I am very appreciative of this award,” said Stanley, who came to work at Peake Elementary in July 2001.

Stanley said the initials B.C. stand for Betty Carol. “But know one knows me by that,” she said, laughing.

Stanley grew up in Bradley and graduated from Bradley High School in 1969. She attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia for three years but did not graduate.

“I moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, and went to work,” she said.

She married her husband, Richard Stanley, in 1977. They have two adult children.

Their daughter, Carol Beth Williams, and her husband, Marc Williams, live in Benton. They have a blended family — Parx Pinnell, 18, Eli Williams, 14, and Koen Pinnell, 12.

The Stanleys’ son, Rick Stanley, and his wife, Karie, also live in Benton.

B.C. Stanley said that when she is not at school, she loves to shop and spend time watching her grandchildren play sports. She is also involved in activities at Whelen Springs Baptist Church.

Co-hosts for Tuesday’s reception are the Arkadelphia Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce and Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home. Catering will be provided by Sodexo.