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Sumter County School Related Employees of the Year 2020

2680 West County Road 476
Bushnell, Florida  33513

Press Release

From:  Lisa Whitman, Sr. Director, H.R.

Subject:  Sumter County School Related Employees of the Year 2020


Nominees for Sumter’s School Related Employee of the Year were recognized recently by the Sumter County School Board.  Family, friends and co-workers accompanied these honorees to a reception at the Sumter County School Board Office, and to the awards presentation ceremony that followed.  Individual well-wishes were given by Superintendent Rick Shirley and by each school board member.  "We are so honored to have such quality staff within our school district. They don't just do their jobs well, they also perform their duties with great care and compassion for our students,” said Superintendent Richard A. Shirley.


Congratulations go to the following Sumter District nominees:

Mr. Jeff Bennett – District Office/SPC/Facilities

Ms. Kaylee Crawford – Webster Elementary School

Mr.  Earl Everett – South Sumter High School

Mr.  Walter Field – South Sumter Middle School

Ms. Cynthia Hickman – Transportation

Ms. Gwendolyn Massey – Sumter P.R.E.P Academy

Ms. Kadi Middleton – Lake Panasoffkee Elementary School

Ms. Holly Peninger – Wildwood Middle High School

Mr.  Paul Rog – Bushnell Elementary School

Ms. Virginia Soto - Wildwood Elementary School


The process for selecting the School Related Employee of the Year begins at the school or site level where nominees are selected by their peers.  The school or site winners are then asked to submit a portfolio that includes a history of trainings, recognitions, contributions to their school and community, and letters of recommendation.  The portfolios are reviewed by a committee of district administrators and three finalists are chosen.  The three SREY finalists selected for 2020 were:  Paul Rog (Bushnell Elementary School), Jeff Bennett (District Office/SPC/Facilities), and Walter Field (South Sumter Middle School).

Several weeks later, these three finalists were interviewed by a committee consisting of business and community leaders, not employed by the Sumter County School District.  From these interview sessions, a district winner was chosen. This year, Mr. Walter Field of South Sumter Middle School, received this prestigious honor.  Mr. Field will now move into the next phase of the program- the state competition.

The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for their contributions to their schools and communities.  The program honors one state representative and four finalists who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs, thereby earning them the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators and parents.        

Sumter District Schools are proud to recognize these individuals because they have made it a priority to positively impact the lives of students in Sumter County and they have achieved the respect and admiration of their peers and co-workers. Congratulations to each honoree!


SCESP Employee of year


Left to Right

Back Row:  Kadi Middleton, Gwendolyn Massey, Paul Rog, Earl Everett, Jeff Bennett

Front Row:  Virginia Soto, Kaylee Crawford, Walter Field, Holly Peninger, Cynthia Hickman