Sumter County Intermediate School - Teachers and Parents in Support of Students - Sumter County Board of Education - November 12, 2020

SCIS - November 2020

Teachers and Parents in Support of Students

Sumter County Board of Education

November 12, 2020

Dr. Torrance Choates continues his "Teachers and Parents in Support of Students" recognition program at the November monthly Board of Education Meetings. This month, Sumter County Intermediate School’s principal, Dr. April Smith recognized Linda Merrell (student), Shanna Queenie (teacher), Cortisa Snipes (paraprofessional), Jacquita Hodge (parent) and Mr. Ben Lyles (custodian)         


Shanna Queenie is a 5th year special education teacher at Sumter County Intermediate School. She is a native of Americus, Georgia. Her parents are Dorothy Queenie and Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Queenie, Sr. She has two sisters and two brothers, and is the proud mother of Riley Robinson who also attends Sumter County Schools. Ms. Queenie received her education from Sumter County Schools and has a Bachelor of Science degree in History with a Minor in Sociology from Georgia Southwestern State University as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning from Ashford University. She has served as a teacher leader at Sumter County Intermediate School as well as created educational opportunities for students that participated in the special programs department. Her motto in life is if a student cannot learn how the teacher teaches, then the teacher needs to teach how the student learns. Ms. Queenie realizes that every student learns differently and it takes a variety of approaches to reach them, engage them, and motivate them. Ms. Queenie continues to learn and educate herself in instructional practices so that she is able to increase her knowledge base in all professional capacities.

SCIS paraprofessional, Cortisa Snipes, was born and raised in Americus, Georgia. She is the daughter of Veronica Mathis and Henry Snipes. She is a graduate from Americus Sumter County High School and holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood at South Georgia Technical College. Her plans in the upcoming year is to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Georgia Southwestern State University. Ms. Snipes has been employed with the Sumter County School System since November 2019. She is a member of Shabach Ministries where she oversees the youth ministry church. She believes every child is unique and deserves a caring and inspiring environment. One of her future endeavors is to have her own learning center where students can develop positive character and leadership traits which are essential in becoming a productive citizen


Ms. Jacquita Hodge is the parent of Lyric Hodge (6th Grade) and Tyler Hodge (7th Grade). Currently, she is engaged to Mr. Eric Holmes. She has worked as a LPN for 10 years and is enrolled in school to obtain a Master of Cosmetology. Ms. Hodge enjoys working on clients’ fingernails, baking, and decorating for multiple events. SCIS school employees commend Ms. Hodge for being a supportive and helpful parent. She is always there to assist her daughter with school functions, whether it has been a field day or an outside of school activities.  Teachers are also grateful for her help in the classroom. Additionally, she has been able to operate her small business while finishing school at South Georgia Technical College. She is deserving of the honor of a Panther Parent!  


Sumter County Intermediate School would like to recognize outstanding student Linda Merrell. She is a 5th grader and is proud to be considered a Motivator, Visionary, and Problem Solver (MVP). Linda is affectionately known as Katie. She is passionate about living life and doing things that makes her happy. She is the daughter of Sterlie Calhoun and Crystal Merrell-Calhoun. She has two sisters Le Le and OJ and a dog in which she loves dearly. She loves spending time with her family and her friends. Linda considers herself a ‘great student,’ eager to build on her academic foundations while enjoying school in a virtual setting during the pandemic with her teachers Ms. Wainwright, Ms. Pride, and Ms. Wallace. Linda has been grateful for the opportunity to go to school and feel safe in the comforts of her home. Linda feels that virtually learning has been challenging, but she wants to encourage her fellow students to stay focused, be ready to learn and continue to rise to grade level! She is a member of the Historic Girl Scouts of America. Linda loves acting, reading, singing, baking, telling jokes, going to church, playing games, and making arts and crafts. Linda has been a dancer at Murphy Dance Studio since the age of three performing in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Linda wants to share a message of hope using her favorite scripture “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Linda would like to share a prayer for her Sumter County School District Family for hope, love, and safety, but most of all that the internet will hold up for all to stay online and get an education. As we transition to the Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons Linda prays for peace on earth and goodwill to all men.  Linda’s teachers describe her to be a wonderful student with a very pleasing personality that sets her apart from the rest of her peers. She is very respectful, intelligent, and studious. Linda performs well in all of her academic classes. She made the A/B Honor Roll for the first nine weeks of school. She has a hunger for learning and likes to be challenged. Mrs. Wainwright, Mrs. Pride, and Ms. Wallace are delighted to be her teachers this year.

Tonight, we are recognizing Mr. Ben Lyles as Sumter County Intermediate’s staff member.  He earned this honor by his peers and co-workers.  A few words that describe him are hard worker, patient, professional, dedicated and friendly.  He goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Mr. Lyles began his career in the Americus City School System in 1974.  He joined his siblings who were also employed by the schools.  An article, “From Bicycles to Mopeds,” was written about the family tradition in Around.About Americus City Schools newspaper dated February of 1994. It stated that in the early years of being employed, his father bought each of his children a bicycle to ride to work.  It was a common sight to see the siblings riding in a group toward town.  They would split up just like the “Blue Angels” all going in a planned direction.  Later, his father purchased mopeds for his children.  They no longer had to pedal to work.  If you talked to them, most of their stories had something to do with the Americus City School System.  Ben Lyles stated, “We have all always had a job and have felt secure working in the Americus City School System.”  

Mr. Lyles has held many jobs in the Sumter County school systems.  He first began as a custodian at Eastview.  He then moved on to be a grounds crew worker, a mechanic at the bus shop with custodial work in between.  Currently, he is working at Sumter County Intermediate School for the 2020-2021 school year as a custodian. 

Tonight’s recognition is one of the many honors and awards that Ben Lyles has received.  He has earned Certificates of recognition from the Georgia Department of Education, School Bus Maintenance program, Completion from Lubrication University, General Motors Corporation, and Americus City School System.  One of the latest Certificates of Appreciation was in recognition of valuable contributions to Sumter County Board of Education for a job well done. This was given to him by Mr. Jerome Smith, transportation supervisor and Ms. Tracy Monts, assistant supervisor.

Ben Lyles symbolizes so much more than the ability to open doors.  He greets everyone with a smile and a “Good Morning.”  He lends a helping hand wherever he is needed.  He is a healthcare worker cleaning and sanitizing our hallways and classrooms.  His work at SCIS represents duty, honor, and dedication.  I am honored tonight to recognize Mr. Ben Lyles as Sumter County Intermediates Staff Member.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Torrance Choates, Superintendent of Sumter County Schools;  Mr. Jeffrey Boges, Assistant Principal of Sumter County Intermediate School; Mr. Ben Lyles, custodian; Linda Merrell, 5th student at SCIS; Cortisa Snipes, SCIS paraprofessional; Ms. Jacquita Hodge, parent volunteer; Shanna Queenie, teacher; Dr. April Smith, Principal of SCIS; and Mohan Gugulothu, Assistant Principal of SCIS

Teachers and Parents in Support of Students - November 2020