Sumter County Middle School - Teachers and Parents in Support of Students - Sumter County Board of Education - January 14, 2021

SCMS - January 2021

Teachers and Parents in Support of Students

Sumter County Board of Education

January 14, 2021


Dr. Torrance Choates continues his "Teachers and Parents in Support of Students" recognition program at the January monthly Board of Education Meeting. This month, Sumter County Middle School’s principal, Mr. Todd Vickery recognized Desmond Hillsman (student), Christina Walker (teacher), Betty Allen (paraprofessional), Shermeanetter McCluster (parent) and Michelle Bush (nutrition department)        


SCMS’s student is Desmond Hillsman. Mr. Vickery stated “Desmond is a very charming student and has great personal skills. He is a very well-mannered student who has a lot of charisma.”

Desmond told Mr. Vickery “the things I enjoy about the school are my friends, the schools' activities including the dances and sporting events. When I graduate from high school I plan to get a good job and then try to get into a good college. I have thought about my career but I have had a few changes to it.” Desmond plays the trumpet in the band and stated that Mr. Cole Smith is an amazing teacher. He also loves the agriculture class. He is the 2022-2021 President of the Sumter County Middle School FFA and enjoys spending time with the various projects of the FFA. Desmond said the teacher, Mr. Brinson Brock, has taught him a lot of things he didn’t know until taking Mr. Brock’s class. It is very fun to learn about agriculture, including the farmers, where produce and other types of food comes from.


SCMS’s paraprofessional is Betty Allen. She has worked at SCMS for the past 3 and 1/2 years. When she started at SCMS, she was assigned as a paraprofessional in the Special Education Department and within a few months was asked to help out as the “unofficial” school nurse. Ms. Allen wears many hats around SCMS. Currently Ms. Allen works as a paraprofessional in the Reading Support Lab, working with small groups and helps cover classes when needed. She has volunteered to help in the reorganization of the Media Center and has been very instrumental in the distribution of the chrome books and other resources that are being distributed to parents and students. Mr. Vickery stated, “Ms. Allen is willing to do anything asked of her. She has a very cooperative spirit, and is pleasure to have on our staff.”  Ms. Allen is currently working on a bachelor's degree in human services. She holds an associate degree in medical assistant and an associate's degree in Health and Human Services. She stated, “I love my job and I love working with kids. I'm also the proud mother of three college students.” In her spear time she loves decorating and crafting.

SCMS’s teacher is Christina Walker, the ESOL teacher. She introduced herself to Mr. Vickery on the first day of preplanning, telling him that she is a very passionate teacher and loves her students. She told him, “I consider my students to be my own children.” She told him that she is willing to do whatever she can to help her students be successful. In her interview with Mr. Vickery, she told him that her first school experience was at the age of 6 days old. “I slept in a basket under my mother's desk while she taught first grade in rural South East Georgia. Both of my parents were teachers and I grew up in the school building.” Ms. Walker earned her Bachelor's degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia and her Master's degree from Georgia State University.  She has one child of her own, who is a student in the Sumter County Schools. Ms. Walker stated, “In our home we have a long-standing joke. My son says, ‘Mom, I know I'm not your only kid, but I am your favorite, right?’”

She has a total of 16 years of teaching experience, six of them in Sumter County with the last two working at SCMS. Ms. Walkers stated, “the best thing about my job is that I have the privilege to work with the BEST KIDS, teachers, and administrators that our school system has to offer.  The teachers are welcoming and go out of their way to make this year, despite the challenges, the most educational experience possible for every student.  The administrators are incredibly patient, dedicated, and understanding of the challenges my students face each day.  As for my students, they are hard-working, enthusiastic, and incredibly intelligent.  How many people can say that they understand more than one language fluently?  It's not easy to try to learn new academic material in a second language. My students are, in a word, AMAZING! I have watched many of these children grow over the past few years.  I have seen them expand their language proficiency, academic knowledge, social skills, confidence, and life goals.  I have seen the work that parents put in to encourage their children.  There is little to compare to the feeling that you get when a student, who wouldn't even speak in the beginning, starts to have actual conversations and begins reading in English!  Our students understand that being able to speak multiple languages makes them unique and special.  It helps them to be successful in their futures.  I look forward to seeing them take this world by storm. No matter where their lives take them, personally or professionally, I can't wait to see everything that they will accomplish. They will be great because they are great.”

SCMS’s parent is Shermeanetter McCluster – has a child, Melvin, who is in the 8th grade at SCMS. Mrs. McCluster stated, “I am a proud native of Sumter County and as a parent I can honestly say our school system pushes themselves and their students to be the best. I enjoy working with students with special needs. Our school system has allowed me to serve as a special education paraprofessional for Sumter County Middle School and currently as a paraprofessional with the GNETS program under the awesome leadership of Mrs. Ashley Beaver.” She serves as a parent advisor on the school’s FFA board which is facilitated by Mr. Brinson Brock. Mrs. Mcluster’s husband, Bishop Melvin McCluster, is currently a parent advisor for the Sumter County Primary School’s parent committee. They have three children enrolled in the Sumter County School system and one child that has graduated from the Sumter County School System. Melvon McCluster is in the 8th grade and he enjoys FFA and band. Melchisedec McCluster is in the 10th grade and loves playing football for the Americus Sumter High School. Malachi McCluster is in the 1st grade and enjoys playing electronic games such as Minecraft. Shermel McCluster graduated from Americus Sumter High School in 2017, with a high school diploma and an Associate in Criminal Justice from South Georgia Technical College in Americus, GA. She was recognized as the first student in Sumter County to complete a dual degree in high school. She went on to Columbus State University and graduated in March of 2020 with a bachelor in Criminal Justice. Mrs. McCluster said, “We are grateful for a school system with quality leadership that trains students to become productive citizens. Thanks!”

Mr. Vickery thanked Mrs. McCluster for all she has done and for her efforts at Sumter County Middle School.

Michelle Bush – Nutrition Manager

Ms. Bush was born and raised in Smithville, Georgia. She has two children. Her daughter, is a Family Nurse Practitioner and her son is a fire fighter in Sylvester, GA. She has one grand baby, a little boy. Ms. Bush says, “He is my go getter, my get up and move before you get old Meme!”

Ms. Bush is the Nutrition Manager at SCMS. She holds a BS in Nutrition and has worked with the School Nutrition Department for 13 years. Ms. Bush stated, “I love what I do on my job every day. My kids, my workers at my school are why I am still in Sumter County School System. I love my teachers and staff dearly. We are just like one big family. Everybody takes care of everybody.” Her passion is cooking meals for a crowd. Trying to make sure that everyone is well feed. She says that she knows that this is her calling from God. All the catering and cooking she does for everyone puts a smile on their faces and knowing that she can put a smile on the faces of the kids every day makes her happy. She told Mr. Vickery that she loves to hear the kids say, “I know Miss Bush’s food anywhere.” She welcomes the students as they come through the lines to pick up their breakfast of lunch, and tells them “Hello”. This year has been a challenge like none other. The nutrition department along with the transportation department have prepared and delivered 1,000s of meals. Mr. Vickery said, “Ms. Bush and her staff have taken care of the children making sure they are feed. They also offer meals for the staff at SCMS to purchase so that they don’t have to leave campus.”

Pictured left to right: Mr. Todd Vickery, Principal of Sumter County Middle School; Shermeanetter McCluster, Parent Volunteer; Christina Walker, the ESOL teacher; Michelle Bush Nutrition Manager; and Dr. Torrance Choates, Superintendent of Sumter County Schools

SCMS January 2021