PORTSMOUTH– Two longtime employees of Scioto County Developmental Disabilities have new job titles this year, following board action in January. The Lead Teacher position, held by Dana Jones, is now Classroom Services Facilitator, and Kim Miller has been promoted from Teaching Assistant to One-on-One Team Leader. The job of Classroom Facilitator is new to SCDD, and it is an expansion of the former Lead Teacher job. The position is aimed to bring additional guidance and training to staff with the ultimate goal of attaining a high standard of education for the students of Vern Riffe School, along with improved staff retention. Staff will receive intensive mentoring and consistent feedback from the Classroom Facilitator to allow for a more conducive learning environment. Jones explains that she was already doing many of her new responsibilities unofficially as Lead Teacher.
“We had some turnover and my experience and expertise brought these needed supports to the table. That pushed me forward to make sure they were done correctly. I was staying after school longer than my contracted hours. I was really doing two jobs with one, and I think the board recognized that,” Jones said. Some of her new official duties will now include more hands-on support and training to classroom teachers, offering education to potential students and families of services offered, implementing monthly safety drills, assigning volunteers, doing observations of new student referrals in their home school districts and acclimating them to the Vern Riffe School building, and managing the state testing for students.
“I am excited but I’m also sad to leave the classroom. I’ve been there for over 30 years and I’m not ready to retire, but stepping into a new role will be an exciting change,” Jones said.
Miller joined SCDD 26 years ago as a teaching assistant when her son Daniel Miller started preschool. Daniel graduated from the Vern Riffe School in 2012, and he now works with Judge Jerry Buckler.
“I subbed for two years before getting hired, because I didn’t want to just drop him off and leave him. So I volunteered for a couple of years before I was hired as a teaching assistant,” Miller said.
She was promoted to the new role of One-on-One Team Leader in January. “I’m very excited to take on this new job. It’s going to be very different because I’ve been in the classroom for so many years,” Miller said. “My new job will be helping classrooms with one-on-one services to students and getting information ready for other people to step in, like substitutes. I plan to prepare binders for every student that has a one-on-one plan with all their likes and dislikes and IEP goals. My primary focus will be to prepare and support all the one-on-ones with their students.”
Miller will be utilizing these materials to provide training to one-on-one aides who are providing individualized support. Vern Riffe School Principal Tammy Guthrie said both Jones and Miller are excellent picks for these new roles. “They are both experienced and dedicated to our school and agency, and they have a terrific ability to work with everyone who makes up the school staff. They have leadership traits that will serve them well in these new roles, and help the DD provide our services to the community,” Guthrie said.