Cumberland County Schools Announce School Social Workers of the Year

  • Cumberland County Schools Announces
    School Social Workers of the Year

    School Social Worker of the Year

    Fayetteville, NC - Yesterday, during a School Social Work Month appreciation event and professional development session at Cliffdale Recreation Center, the district announced two honorees as Cumberland County Schools' (CCS) 2023-2024 Faye Huckabee School Social Workers of the Year. Due to the number of deserving recipients, the decision was made to recognize two social workers. Shannon Sykes, a school social worker at both Gray's Creek Elementary and J.W. Coon Elementary, and Monica Hall, a school social worker at Rockfish Elementary, received this prestigious recognition. Attending the event were nearly 100 school social workers, along with school board members, and district and school administrators.

    Award recipients are nominated annually by their colleagues for their exceptional work. School social workers provide services to students, families and school personnel to include monitoring attendance, promoting dropout prevention, consultation, identifying at-risk students, and counseling. Cumberland County Board of Education Chairwoman Deanna Jones presented the proclamation for School Social Work Month. The celebration also included greetings from CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., who later presented the social workers with the esteemed District Challenge Coin. 

    Sykes, a previous recipient of CCS' Extra Mile Award, has 26 years of experience as a social worker. According to CCS' Social Work Coordinator Pamela Story, Sykes is described as an outstanding professional whose passion, expertise and unwavering commitment to social justice make her an invaluable asset to our entire school system. J.W. Coon Elementary School Principal Tianna O'Brien also spoke about why Sykes was selected. "She is able to demonstrate a sound understanding for what our entire school community needs in order to ensure a successful environment for all," said O'Brien. "She demonstrates sound leadership and can provide support to students and families to help improve their mental health, environmental or educational concerns." 

    Rockfish Elementary School Principal Lisa Crawford found it a privilege to nominate Hall for the Faye Huckabee School Social Worker Award. "Ms. Hall reflects the spirit of this prestigious award and truly exemplifies the compassion, character, and high standards essential for accomplishment as a school social worker," said Crawford. "I highly recommend Mrs. Monica Hall."  Hall has over 20 years of experience in the field of social work. Story commented on the efforts of Hall. "She consistently goes above and beyond in their efforts to support students, the community, school employees and families in need," said Story.

    Dr. Quienton Nichols, Associate Dean of The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Fayetteville State University who was the keynote speaker, closed out the celebration, leaving attendees with words to remember. "I want to tell you about you being an unsung hero with superpowers," said Nichols. "You cultivate pearls of wisdom and you unpack greatness in your students." He went on to speak about social workers advocating for those who may not have a voice, the critical role that social workers play as well as the importance of self-care. 

    School Social Workers of the Year

    Dr. Melody Chalmers McClain, associate superintendent of Student Support Services, Deanna Jones, CCS Board Chairwoman, Monica Hall, School Social Worker of the Year, Dr. George Hendricks, Shannon Sykes, School Social Worker of the Year, CCS Superintendent, Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., Dr. Natasha Scott, executive director of Student Services (l-r)

    School Social Worker of the Year

    School Social Worker of the Year, Shannon Sykes

    School Social Worker of the Year

    Honorees receiving awards

    School Social Worker of the Year

    School Social Worker of the Year, Monica Hall

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