School-Level Administrators of the Year are Principal Michele Falk Yeomans and Assistant Principal Shannon Smith from Riversprings Middle School.
School-Level Administrators of the Year Principal Michele Yeomans and Assistant Principal Shannon Smith of Riversprings Middle School also were selected by their fellow administrators throughout the school district.
Says Superintendent Pearce, “Michele is a great motivator of her faculty, staff, and students. She has helped create the ‘RMS Bear Family’ culture in which staff and students alike look out for each other and celebrate each other’s successes. She is a high-performing administrator leading a high-performing faculty and staff whose goal is to help their middle school students grow academically and emotionally.”
Yeomans also is a product of Wakulla County schools, attending Sopchoppy Elementary School, Wakulla Middle School, and graduating from Wakulla High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Troy University and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.
She enters her 20th year in education and her 5th year as principal of RMS. Her experience includes Alternative Education teacher at Wakulla Middle; PE teacher and head softball coach at Marianna High School; PE teacher at Shadeville Elementary; and 7 years as assistant principal at RMS.
“Hands down, my favorite part of the job is interacting with students and watching their success,” she notes. Yeomans constantly seeks to improve students’ opportunities for achievement such as stressing the importance of the RMS Reading Program and meeting the requirements for RMS to become an AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) National Demonstration School.
An experience that stands out to her is her relationship with Tori Hillmon, the daughter of one of her teachers. Yeomans explains, “Tori came to RMS in 6th grade as a student being treated for cancer, who very much wanted to be treated like any other ‘normal’ 6th grader. We worked hard to make that happen, even as she and her family traveled back and forth to the hospital. Toward the end of her 8th grade year, she lost her battle with cancer, and one of the hardest things I have had to do as principal was to lead my faculty, staff, and students through grieving for her while I was grieving myself.”
“Her compassion for children and adults alike makes her an effective leader,” says Superintendent Pearce.
Also awarded School-Level Administrator of the Year, RMS Assistant Principal Shannon Smith shares Yeomans’ views on leadership.
He attended Crawfordville Elementary, Wakulla Middle, and graduated from Wakulla High. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Florida State University and later went on to earn his Masters of Educational Leadership from American Intercontinental University.
Smith taught math at Wakulla High School, then moved to RMS to teach math and PE. He was named RMS Dean of Students in 2014 and now serves as Assistant Principal.
“In addition to his assigned duties, Mr. Smith also mentors numerous students and assists them with meeting their reading goals. He takes troubled students under his wing and tries to steer them onto the correct path in life. He also works with community wrestling programs for all ages from kindergarten through high school,” says Principal Yeomans.
A favorite part of his job is interacting with students and watching them develop in their middle school years. Smith says, “You never know what to expect when you engage a middle schooler in a conversation!”
Notes Superintendent Pearce, “Shannon does a great job of working as an administrative team member with Principal Yeomans. It’s obvious when you walk into RMS that students are listened to, encouraged, and motivated by the faculty and staff. It starts with the leadership at RMS fostering that atmosphere.”