Members Shine Bright at Support Personnel of the Year Award Ceremony

There are few better ways to be fired up for the start of the next school year than to end the current one with recognition for your hard work and dedication. That is exactly what has happened for the 34 AFSCME Local 1184 members nominated for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Support Personnel of the Year awards.

And for the five employees who won, it was an unforgettable evening. 

“It means a lot to me to be recognized by my coworkers because I know how hard I work but really I know I couldn’t have won it without everyone on my team because we keep each other going strong every day,” said Artravius Smith, the winner from Plant Operations.

The year’s awards mark a return of the ceremony after a multiyear absence and the fulfillment of years of hard work by the Local 1184 team to bring it back.

“This award ceremony is about putting into action the belief that every person working to sustain their community better deserves respect,” said Vicki Hall, president of AFSCME Local 1184. “We really are a big team when it comes to serving the students and this underscores that team support.”

Workers were nominated by their peers, teachers and administrators and then reviewed by a panel of volunteers. Winners were announced from three finalists from each division – Maintenance Operations, Food and Nutrition, Transportation, Plant Operations and General Services.

“It was surprising to say the least,” said Kenya Porter, the winner from Maintenance Operations. “And I’ve promised myself to not let all the congratulations and praise get to me and to just keep doing my job, doing what I’m doing and know it is noticed.”

“To know that my coworkers and my union would put something like this together means the world to me because you can tell someone they are doing a good job. But to make all this happen, to show what you mean to someone, that just is above and beyond what I could ever ask for,” said Elizabeth Gross, the winner from Transportation. “I can’t wait to come back next year and show my support for the next winner, then the one after that and the one after that, so we can keep this thing going.”

After a night of speeches from the superintendent, coworkers, AFSCME leaders and school board members, the room was already buzzing with plans on how all the winners and nominees can help mentor coworkers on best practices so everyone can benefit in the coming school year.

Photos from the evening can be found by clicking here.