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Ohio County, Marshall County School Staffers Finalists For State Honor

Employees in both the Marshall and Ohio county school systems are on the short list for a significant statewide award, both named as finalists for the 2021-22 West Virginia Service Personnel Employee of the Year award.

Jody Miller, Ohio County Schools federal programs secretary, and Julia “Julie” Clayton, cafeteria manager at Glen Dale Elementary, are two of 10 finalists for the state award. That award, as well as West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year, will be announced Sept. 7 during a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston.

Miller, a 14-year employee of Ohio County Schools, sees her job in life as “making people smile.”

“I love my job,” Miller said. “I love the people who surround me. They’re the ones who make me good. And there is the positivity the Board of Education brings to it. It makes it easy to succeed.

“I love making people smile, and making people happy. I’m a much better giver than a receiver.”

Miller’s life changed after her daughter Heather was killed in a car crash in 2008, and it led her to become involved in community efforts.

She is actively involved in Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) programs at Wheeling Park High School, and the Mothers Against Drug Driving (MADD) program in the county.

Recent years also have seen Miller helping to organize the school district’s annual holiday shoe drive to bring new shoes to youths that need them.

Walt Saunders, Ohio County Schools’ assessment and federal programs director, said Miller is the “backbone of the Federal Programs Department.”

“She’s wonderful to work with, and without her experience this office would not operate as well as it does,” he said. “Ms. Miller does everything needed and more in Federal Programs, but she also goes above and beyond to work with other departments in the central office and throughout the school system. Jody is an exceptional staff member.”

Clayton has served Marshall County students for 10 years. She prides herself on being in-tune with the needs of her students as well as being motivated to share her positive work ethic and team approach with her co-workers.

According to information provided by the district, Clayton consistently goes above and beyond her job description and has spent many days finding lost retainers, dressing up for School Lunch Hero Day, cooking and delivering meals to families and organizing holiday celebrations for her students.

“I’m very humbled. … I’m very, very honored,” she said. “I love feeding the kids, seeing their smiles, making them full. I’m just blessed.”

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