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Virginia Department of Education Celebrates 2024 RISE Award Nominees

Two employees honored for essential service they provide to school, students, and school division

Post Date:06/07/2024 10:55 AM

For Immediate Release: June 7, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce Virginia’s 2024 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award nominees. Renee Weir, Clerk of the Board and Office Manager for Clarke County Public Schools, and Charles (Charlie) Woolf, a paraprofessional for Poquoson City Public Schools, were selected as Virginia’s nominees. Weir and Woolf were recognized by Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons during virtual meetings with school and division leaders. 

“Ms. Weir and Mr. Woolf exemplify the high level of commitment and care that support staff provide to ensure their students and colleagues are successful — I know that they have both played a significant role in the lives of many students,” said Dr. Coons. “I am honored to recognize their work and thank them for the remarkable contributions they have made to their school communities.” 

Established by Congress in 2019, the RISE Award spotlights classified school employees’ outstanding contributions to quality PreK-12 education in the United States. Classified school employees include paraprofessionals, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades professionals. The VDOE selects two nominees who showcase excellence in the following areas:  

  • Work performance 

  • School and community involvement 

  • Leadership and commitment 

  • Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work) 

  • Enhancement of classified school employees' image in the community and school 

Weir has spent nearly 30 years with Clarke County Public Schools. Currently Office Manager and Clerk of the Board, she was nominated for her commitment to supporting staff to ensure they are equipped to meet the needs of students. An advocate for all staff, she is a proponent of providing professional development to enhance continuous growth across roles within the division. Weir also has a vast wealth of knowledge that she shares with colleagues so they can make informed decisions that will ultimately impact outcomes for students across Clarke County.  

“Renee has consistently been the glue that holds it all together. Often the first to arrive and the last to leave, her work ethic is an inspiration for us all. Renee is always willing to assist. In fact, she onboarded many superintendents and even more district administrators with one goal in mind – for Clarke County Schools to be the best,” said Clarke County Superintendent Rick Catlett. 

Woolf has spent the last eight years supporting the success of students in Poquoson City Public Schools. He was nominated for his earnest commitment to meeting students’ needs and well-being. Woolf willingly goes beyond his responsibilities to ensure his personal understanding of content to better support his students and plays a vital role in providing support for all students, not just the ones he is assigned to help. 

“Charlie works with students ranging from our adaptive students to some of our more accelerated learners in the collaborative setting. He studies and volunteers to help with a smile on his face. He also checks on staff members; he is in a lot of way the pulse in the heart of Poquoson Middle School,” said Poquoson Middle School Principal Melissa Bunting

Both nominees are invited to the June meeting of the Virginia Board of Education where they will be recognized for the accomplishments.  

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