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LCSD names Teacher, Adminstrator of the Year winners

The Lafayette County School Board recognized their Teacher of the Year recipients, as well as their first-ever Administrator of the Year, at their meeting on Monday night.

Whitney Drewrey, the special education teacher for third- through fifth-grade students at Lafayette Upper Elementary school, has been named LCSD Teacher of the Year. Drewrey, who got her start teaching sixth grade science, says being a special education teacher is her “dream job.”

“It is humbling so many people appreciate what I do and that I influence them daily,” Drewrey said. “It means my students, with severe and profound cognitive disabilities, not only fit in with our school community, but also have a distinct place and purpose at our school, which is what we want for all of our students.”

Dr. Glenn Kitchens, the principal at Lafayette High School, was named the district’s first Administrator of the Year. Kitchens has been an educator for 27 years, and says the award is not so much about his success as it is the success of the students and teachers.

“It is a reflection of the success of our students, the teachers in our LHS classrooms and our school community,” Kitchens said. “We have a great school community and I am blessed beyond words to serve alongside the other administrators in our district for our school community. It is very humbling for me to be chosen for this honor and to represent my peer administrators in the LCSD.”

Both Drewrey and Kitchens say they draw inspiration from those around them. Drewrey says her students are most inspiring to her.

“My students motivate me every day,” she said. “If the obstacles they have in front of them and all they have faced in their young lives has not gotten them down, then I sure do not have the right to let anything get me down. They smile even on their worst days and I owe it to them to smile too.”

For Kitchens, he says he draws inspiration from role models he’s had throughout his life, and people who lead effectively in their respective fields.

“My school band director and my aunt, who was a second grade teacher for longer than she cares to admit, inspire me,” he said. “I won’t mention names specifically but I draw inspiration from different people that I have come to admire both inside and outside our field, and others on a daily basis when I observe them overcome adversity, achieve a goal, demonstrate kindness, take on a task, show compassion. Inspiration is everywhere.”

One thing Drewrey says is that she strives to create a positive learning environment for her students, something that is made possible with the help of her teaching assistants.

“Lafayette County School District’s mission is to provide students an exceptional education in a nurturing environment with devoted people,” she said. “I hope this honor means I can inspire others to give every student a chance and never give up on them. I want my colleagues to look for a positive characteristic in every student and capitalize on it. I want them to use that characteristic as leverage to get the student to strive for more.”  

That ideology, Kitchens says, it what distinguishes Lafayette High School and other LCSD schools from the rest.

“Lafayette is a special place and I hope that our students sense my love for LHS and for them as individuals,” he said. “I also want them to be grateful for the opportunities our school community provides for them at this time in their lives. They are very blessed to be Commodores.”

Other LCSD Teacher of the Year recipients are: Amy Atchley, LES; Cara Porter, LMS; Gloria Smith, LHS and Christy Jordan, from the School of Applied Technology.