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State PTA honors 2 local school leaders

Jennifer Sprouse • Apr 3, 2012 at 11:12 PM

The Johnson City School System has something else to brag about after two school leaders won Tennessee Parent-Teacher Association awards.

Amy Stover, principal of South Side Elementary School, and Kathy Hall, an elected Johnson City School Board member, were chosen as the recipients of two of the five yearly awards.

Stover, finishing up her last year at South Side, received the news she had won the 2012 Tennessee PTA Outstanding Principal award at the school’s Friday morning assembly.

“The PTA president told me that she needed to just make a short announcement,” Stover said. “She had found out that I had been selected earlier last week, so she got up and made this big announcement that I had been chosen.”

While she was very humbled and honored to win the outstanding principal award, Stover said this particular award means a lot.

“My first job at South Side, in 1984, was PTA president,” she said. “My children went to school here and so I started out being very active in PTA because at that time I was a stay-at-home mom. I actually began work as a teacher here in January of 1985 while I was still PTA president.”

With PTA near and dear to her heart, Stover said she feels the parent-to-teacher connection is important.

“I’ve always felt that the PTA was just a vital part of a partnership that really helps us nurture students and do what’s important for students at school,” she said.

As her retirement nears, Stover said she was happy that she and Hall could help represent the area, and the school system, with these awards.

“I think it is a tremendous honor for the Johnson City Schools to have two people selected in separate processes,” she said. “I think it speaks very highly to the quality of education and the importance of PTA that we have here in Johnson City.”

Starting her eighth year as a member on the Johnson City School Board, Hall said even though she’s won the award previously, she was shocked to learn she had won again for PTA Outstanding School Board Member.

“I was flattered by the nomination and very humbled to win,” she said.

Known for always joining in with different organizations and causes, Hall said she wanted to get involved in things like the PTA by becoming part of the School Board.

“PTA people are the ones that you hope you’re serving,” she said. “I think parent involvement is something that anyone with the schools is passionate about, because we know the more a parent is involved, the better it is for students. I’m involved as a parent myself and advocate for that with PTA and then I volunteer in our schools quite a bit.”

Tennessee PTA President Karen Davis said nominees are judged on a variety of things.

“We typically get all sorts of applications from all across the state and we divide them up and hand them out to different judges in different areas,” Davis said.

Questions revolving around participation in the PTA and PTSA activities, encouragement for parents and students and how the individual has helped with the connection between home, school and the outside community, she said factor into a judge’s overall decision. Another factor is interpretation.

“When you’re reading a report and can envision this person talking or envision the things that they are doing ... sometimes that carries a little more weight than just listing their accomplishments,” Davis said.

She said the two nominees, and now winners from our area, stood out for what they’ve done to involve parents in the community. Stover, nominated by South Side PTA President Stacy Onks, was noted as someone who encouraged parents to attend workshops, supported reading literacy at home and the understanding of technology in the classroom, Davis said.

Nominated by the Johnson City council, she said Hall was picked out as being supportive to parents, helping with safety related policies and working with the Johnson City homeless program.

Stover, Hall and three other winners for Outstanding Legislator, Outstanding Superintendent and Outstanding Teacher will be honored at the Tennessee PTA’s annual awards banquet on May 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Nashville.

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