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Verla Reed, Brownstown elementary school librarian, was honored as an Outstanding Educational Support Professional Employee at the Region 5 Illinois Education Association’s Awards Banquet held April 12 at the Edwardsville campus of the Lewis and Clark Community College.
Reed was nominated for the award by Brownstown ESP Association president Diana Smith.
More than 120 area educators attended the event. Former state legislator Jay Hoffman served as keynote speaker. Special guests included Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Daiber and Assistant Regional Superintendent of Schools Andrew Reinking, IEA Director of Membership Services Anthony Jefferies, IEA ESP of the Year Cindy Mitchell and Mt. Olive ESP President Jeff Rabida, who is credited with saving the life of principal Doug Smith in a hunting accident. Region 5 Chair Peg McGinness, who served as mistress of ceremonies for the event, introduced Reed.
“Mrs. Reed is a positive force in her school. She has a passion for helping students learn to read.
“She plans student activities throughout the year. She sponsors a breakfast club for her reading club,” McGinness said.
“This year, a 16-foot pirate ship, ‘The Jolly Reader,’ has been dry docked in her library. The ship was designed and built by Verla; her husband Jerry; and the local lumberyard owner Melvin Willms. Students are encouraged to climb on board, settle on a bench and read a book,” she said.
A story about the Brownstown library pirate ship was featured in a recent issue of the IEA Advocate.
Reed has served on the local scholarship committee and the Teacher Appreciation Week committee.
She is active in the Gideons International, teaching about mission groups and Bible study to young girls at the First Baptist Church of Brownstown.
“She is an outstanding individual in every way," said Diana Smith, Brownstown ESP Association president.
In presenting the Outstanding ESP of the Year Award to Reed, McGinness said, “Something good is happening in Brownstown … and Veria Reed is an important part of it.”
IEA Region 5 is made up of 26 local associations representing more than 2,000 public school employees in Fayette, Bond, Clinton, Madison, Macoupin and Montgomery counties.
The annual IEA Awards Banquet honors school employees nominated for their commitment to their school, association, and community. The Illinois Education Association is the state affiliate of the National Education Association.