by Kate Evans
Janet Rockwell, Widmyer Elementary aide/early childhood classroom assistant teacher, was chosen as the Morgan County Schools Service Personnel of the Year at the March 21 school board meeting.
Rockwell began working for Morgan County Schools in 1994 and started as a full-time custodian in the summer. She was quickly assigned as a clerk/aide at Great Cacapon Elementary, then moved on to working as an aide at North Berkeley Elementary.
When North Berkeley Elementary closed, she was transferred to Widmyer Elementary. For most of her career — 24 out of 28 years –Rockwell has been a kindergarten aide. She has worked with the same teacher, kindergarten teacher Rhonda Spielman, for around 20 years until Spielman retired last year.
Enjoyed kids and coworkers
Rockwell has enjoyed the students and seeing them as they grow. She also enjoys the people she’s worked with.
“It’s been a joy to work for the schools,” Rockwell said.
When she looks back, Rockwell recalls students coming up to her at ball games and them being surprised that she remembers them. Sometimes they surprise her, too. Rockwell said she’s also had her students’ kids in her class.
Rockwell was surprised to receive the Service Personnel of the Year Award. Rockwell has been enjoying sitting in her rocking chair that she received from Caperton Furniture Works for her award.
“It’s very comfortable,” she said.
Rockwell said that she will be retiring on July 31 and has signed up to work as a substitute. She has some really great friends at school. Rockwell said she’ll miss that, but will enjoy getting together with them when she can.
Rockwell loves being outdoors — hiking, taking walks and going for walks with her dog — and will be enjoying that during her retirement. She also does some small gardening. Rockwell said her husband will be retiring and they plan to travel out west. She’d really love to go to Hawaii.
Widmyer Elementary Principal Rhett Beckman said Rockwell “has been a valuable member of the Widmyer family.”
“She is dedicated to her students and works hard to make sure they have what they need. She frequently goes beyond the minimum requirements and stays to support before and after school activities,” Beckman said.
Retired Widmyer Elementary teacher Rhonda Spielman worked with Rockwell for 21 years.
“We were a great team and worked together perfectly. We knew exactly what the other one was thinking. We had the same outlook and philosophy. We both liked structure in the classroom. We wanted them to be successful,” Spielman said of their students.
Spielman said that Rockwell worked with the kids, read stories and did crafts. Rockwell also loved to do science experiments with the students.
“She had great rapport with the kids,” Spielman said.
“She’s definitely well-deserving of the award,” Spielman said of Rockwell.