Rome City Schools announced their Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year at a banquet Tuesday night. The winners were nominated by their peers, completed a lengthy application process and were evaluated by educators outside of the system.

Taking home the honor for Support Staff of the Year was Scott McClure, a paraprofessional for Elm Street Elementary. Runner-up for Teacher of the Year, Hillary Oliver, teaches first grade at West End, thanked her friends, coworkers and family for their support.

After a dinner provided by Rome Middle School, Becky Kemnitz was named Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year. Kemnitz teaches third grade at Anna K. Davie Elementary School and she is also a tennis coach at Rome High School.

As her eyes welled with tears at the podium, she gave the audience the source of her motivation.

“I became a teacher to change kids, but being a teacher has changed me,” she said.

Kemnitz went on to tell the story of a chance meeting with a former student while ordering food. She said that the young lady in the drive-thru remembered having her as a teacher. The little girl, handing food through the window, was now an adult and she wanted to let Kemnitz how much she appreciated the time Kemnitz spent working to change the lives of kids.

“It is an unbelievable honor to work with tonight’s winners, and our entire faculty here in Rome City Schools,” Superintendent Louis Byars said. “We have so many people, who deserve to be recognized, but these teachers are really special and we are glad to let them know how proud we are of them.”

Faith Collins, Rome City Schools Board chair, said that she was extremely proud of all of the nominees and the winners were all deserving of the honor. Educators and support staff nominated were given an award and a gift basket provided by Rome City Schools’ community partners.