goes to Shawna Crist, Media Assistant at Plew Elementary School. The award recognizes the exemplary contribution of an educational staff professional in the county’s school district.
Mrs. Crist has a long-standing connection with the county’s school district, starting as an elementary school teacher in 1986 at the Baker School. She moved to Bluewater Elementary School in the 90s to be closer to her then-boyfriend, Rob, who is now her husband. After thirteen years of teaching, Mrs. Crist decided to become a full-time volunteer at Plew Elementary when she became a mother.
“It is just an amazing, amazing career path,” Crist said about working in the Okaloosa County School District, and I know people are talked out of teaching all the time. I don’t know why. Because to me, there’s no better job in the world.”
Mrs. Crist’s commitment to education and her efforts to improve the school are well-recognized; this award is not her first. She received the Senior Adult Volunteer of the year award in 2012 and was chosen as Support Person of the Year for Plew in 2018. Mrs. Crist is known for her passion for education and as a “cheerleader for readers who strives to keep students from falling through the cracks.”
The teacher turned volunteer turned support professional’s contribution to Plew Elementary is multi-faceted. She is the school news show’s creator, the Violin Club sponsor, the Mrs. Crist-mas Shop sponsor, Plew Planters Team lead, and the Plew Parent Leadership co-president. Plew Elementary Principal Tammy Matz lauded Crist, saying “[she] is an icon; a person widely admired especially for having great influence or significance here at Plew Elementary. I could not think of anyone more deserving of Support Person of the Year for OCSD.”
Superintendent Marcus Chambers added Crist “Our Education Staff Professionals play a vital role in our schools and across our District. We have so many employees who give their all to impact the lives around them positively, and Ms. Crist sets that example every day.”
Mrs. Crist doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. By her count, she has another seven years on staff at Plew Elementary. She now sees the children of some of the students she taught more than 20 years ago. She loves the children she calls ‘grand-students.’ “Now when I get great grand students, I may need to retire,” Crist said with a laugh, “But right now, it’s just grand-students.’
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