A red carpet with no Kardashians. And no Will Smith.

Just the local heroes of education.

Women in gowns and men in tuxedos walked an actual red carpet to receive awards for their service to the school system in an event that was the first of its kind. New Superintendent Michele McClung, herself a former teacher, knew the importance of showing appreciation for those who work tirelessly to educate and care for our children. So her staff, led by Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor Nicole Spottswood, pulled out all the stops to create a special evening complete with dinner and dancing.

McClung wanted to spotlight those who go the extra mile and often don’t have their efforts recognized. “We put the red carpet event on to show our gratitude and sincerest appreciation for those students, employees and community members who consistently show excellence in all they do. Taking the time to honor others by personalizing why they stand out is a great way to build a positive culture in the school system.  I hope our employees feel the love we have for them and they truly know how important they are to the success of our students, school system and community!”

Along with awards for best teacher and student at each of the system’s schools, administrators and support staff were honored as well. Plaques and medallions were handed out for the best school bus driver, best secretary, best custodian and the top performers in every department. Even those who are not school employees were thanked, as Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson was named Community Leader of the Year and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians received an award as Organization of the Year. A total of 46 awards were handed out.

School Board President Coleman Wallace, who has been on the board for 10 years, was greatly impressed. “This history-making moment is because of our leader, Superintendent Michele McClung. Great leaders have grand visions. Even where there are divisions, they do not abandon their mission. Great leaders are able to make a great impact because they value the people they serve.”

McClung said the red carpet awards dinner will be an annual event.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email news@1819news.com

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.