I have been with Bright Beginnings for three years and have loved every moment. I am a William & Mary graduate. My mentor inspired me to give back to our community and I can’t think of a better way to do that then working with the children and parents who benefit from the Bright Beginnings Program. Watching the children grow and succeed after they exit our program is truly inspirational. I am honored by this recognition which would not have been possible without the wonderful people I work with.
Mary Beth StaffieriClara Byrd Baker
I’ve been married to my fantastic husband Bill for 38 years. I have five great kids and six precious grandchildren (number seven is on the way!) I love cats, spending time with my family, taking walks, shopping, Disney and chocolate!
Robert CrosbyD.J. Montague
I was born in Norwalk, CT and retired from the Wilton CT Police Department as the Chief of Police after 34 years in law enforcement. I moved to VA in April 2017 and started working at D.J. Montague as a Special Ed TA in January 2018. I love working with the staff at D.J. and with my new friends in the classroom,. I am married with two sons and we are all New York Giants fans.
Tammi CollinsJ. Blaine Blayton
I was born in Alabama. I am a graduate of Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!). I started off my career as a Healthcare Administrator, but became a stay at home mom when my daughter was born. I went back to work in education as a substitute teacher and then as a SPED Assistant. My last six years have been at J. Blaine Blayton. I have been married for 28 years and have two children who are graduates from Lafayette High School (Go Rams). In my spare time, I like to exercise, read, travel and watch college football and basketball.
Denise HallJames River
I was born and raised in Newport News, VA. I attended Kee’s Business College and started working in the Newport News Shipyard for the X31 Electrical Department Superintendent. I left the shipyard and helped open D.J. Montague in 1989. I transferred to James River in 2010. I have two grown children (a son and a daughter) who have given me three grandchildren.
Melissa BabcockLaurel Lane
I moved to Williamsburg in 2006 and began working at Rawls Byrd in 2008. I have lived all over the country, but grew up in Houston and New Orleans. I went to college in CA, TX, ad GA. I want to thank my coworkers for nominating me for the employee of the year. I love my Penguin family!!!!
After my dad joined the USAF, we moved to the States from Puerto Rico. I grew up around military bases along with my two sisters. Now, I enjoy being a nurse after having had the BEST job (Stay-at-Home Mom) for many years, to three MES Cardinals. My husband is a William & Mary professor and we love having adventures with our sons. You can mostly find me cracking bad jokes, running, planning road trips, or fixing up my she shed. I am fortunate that I found a job that fits who I am. I was born to care. I genuinely enjoy trying to bring a smile to everyone I meet. Thanks for allowing me to care for your kids, to be part of the WJCC family, and to MES staff pals for choosing me for this kind honor and for making every day at work better than a good day of fishing.
Jennifer HowlettMatthew Whaley
I grew up in the Adirondacks of upstate NY. I moved to Williamsburg in the summer of 1999. My husband was a living history historian but in NY this was seasonal work. His career at Colonial Williamsburg brought us south. We raised our family here, and both my girls were Patriots at Matthew Whaley, K though 5. I started out as a parent in the school. Then I was hired as a substitute in the school division. A few years later I started my full time career at Matthew Whaley. I cherish all my memories from This school. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new from my students, my colleagues, and my families. I am truly blessed to to have such amazing people in my life, and to remain a Patriot!
I am a native of Williamsburg! My husband and I have two children, Lindsay and Josh, who attended James City County schools. After being a homemaker when I returned to the workforce I began as a sub for WJCC schools. I had always enjoyed my children’s years at Norge so much that when a full time posistion became available I was fortunate to become a Teacher Assistant here.
I started with the division in 2008 as a cafe worker at Stonehouse. In 2011, I became a Cafe Manager at James Blair where I enjoyed cooking and providing meals for our Central Office Staff. I joined the Seastar family again in 2017. I enjoy teaching the SHIP Cooking Clubs in the spring and fall at Stonehouse as well as other schools.
I have worked for WJCC schools for five years and VBPS schools for 22 years. I have two children and five awesome grandchildren. I enjoy my job and love working with the parents, staff and students.
Liza PottsJames Blair
I was born and raised in Virginia, earned a PE degree at the University of Richmond and a BS in Nursing from MCV. After working as an OR nurse for 10 years, I began with WJCC Schools in 1996. I have worked at D. J. Montague, Stonehouse Elementary, Toano Middle and now James Blair Middle School. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 37 years and we have three grown children, five grandchildren (soon to be six), a dog and a cat. We love the beach and plan to retire there. I love sports, animals, nature, reading, and school nursing! I especially love middle school students as they seem to appreciate my sense of humor! I am so proud to work at James Blair with such an incredible, dedicated team of professionals and friends who work tirelessly for our amazing Spiders!
Gwendolyn GainesLois S. Hornsby
I am a native of Washington, D.C., and have been a resident of Virginia since 1976. I earned a Master’s in Education and a license in Special Education. I worked as an ISS aide at Jamestown High School in 2005-2006, a special education self-contained teacher in 2006-2007 at Toano Middle School, a teacher’s assistant in 2007-2010 at James Blair Middle School, then transitioned to the newly built Lois S. Hornsby. In 2010, I began as a licensed special education case manager until I decided to pursue my Doctorate in Education and Leadership. My time in WJCC schools has allowed me to be a Multicultural Engagement Advocate (MEA), and the opportunity to bring awareness of diversities in our school and unite all faculty and students.
I grew up in Arlington, VA and just moved to Williamsburg almost a year ago. I have been a custodian with WJCC Schools since September 2019 at multiple schools. More recently I have been a custodian at Toano.
I have been with WJCC for four years. First, at Berkeley as a cafeteria monitor and now Jamestown as a teacher assistant with special education. I have an AS in Respiratory Therapy. I have four children and three grand babies. I have two graduates this year, one from Longwood University and one from Lafayette High School. I love to travel, read and do handcrafts in my spare time. We are a traveling family and have lived in three countries and four states over the years. We now call Williamsburg home!
I grew up in Williamsburg, and am a 1994 graduate of Lafayette High School. I earned my B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!), and my Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. This is my seventh year as the Media Assistant at Lafayette, where I’m also the coach of the Scholastic Bowl team. I’ve been married to my husband, Scott, for nearly 21 years, and our son is a rising sophomore at LHS.
I love to sing, play with my grandkids, jump on the trampoline and ride my moped. I love helping others, giving when there is a need, and giving back to what God has given me to spread his love.
Gail VasilyCentral Office
I’m originally from Gary, Indiana. Strange fact— my husband is from Gary also but we didn’t meet until I and a friend of mine went to Hawaii for a vacation. I then spent 15 years living in Hawaii. From there we went on to Los Angeles, California where we lived for a while before moving to Williamsburg. A lot of our time has been spent traveling to as many countries as we can. I believe we’re up to 65-70 now and will continue to do so for as long as possible. We love the different cultures, scenery and trying different foods.
I am a proud father of three children with autism. The oldest goes to Newport News Center of Autism, the middle attends Lafayette High School, and my last attends Matthew Whaley Elementary School. I have been in the school system for 20 years and I supervise custodial staff in 12 JCC buildings and eight schools known as Eagle Zone. One of my favorite things to do is greet someone with a “Happy Monday!” or any day of the week. I enjoy playing video games and watching WWE with my family.
This is my 14th year with WJCC. I worked for many years as a school-based technician where I met my lovely wife Kim. Six years ago, I took the Systems Engineer position that I am in now. When I am not at work, I enjoy spending my time with friends and family.
I am an LHS graduate and have been a dedicated WJCC Schools Transportation Department employee since August 2014. Safety is priority and I am always willing to lend a helping hand. In addition to ensuring students are transported safely to and from school, I completed the School Bus Driver Instructor Certification Training Program in 2017. Two years later, I became certified as a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Third-Party Examiner in 2019 and completed the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Program in early 2020. Though I may wear multiple hats – Bus Driver, Driver Instructor and DMV Third-Party Examiner, Hair Stylist, and my church’s Praise Team Director– I am always striving to promote a positive and fun working environment.