Each year, the Wooster City School District honors two employees as recipients of the Ralph R. and Grace B. Jones Foundation Outstanding Teacher and Staff Member Awards. These awards recognize Wooster employees who go above and beyond in their roles and have made a positive impact at their school. This year’s Outstanding Teacher honoree is Stan Burris, intervention specialist and tennis coach at Wooster High School, and Phyllis McCoy, paraprofessional at Wooster High School, is the Outstanding Staff Member award recipient.
During his more than 35 years with the Wooster City School District, Burris has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues and students and is fondly known as the “Godfather of Wooster High.” He has served as an intervention specialist and has coached for basketball, track and tennis.
Those who nominated Burris for the award noted his uncanny ability to help every student achieve their full potential through the extraordinary effort and time he spends with each student. Nominators also said Burris “consistently gives the students 100% of his heart” and is “the greatest teacher I have ever worked with.”
“It is quite evident that Stan is an asset to our schools and community,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs. “He gives so much of himself – his time, his dedication, his passion – to teaching and coaching and we are extremely fortunate to have him on our Wooster faculty.”
McCoy has been a part of the Wooster City School District for 13 years and has worked as a paraprofessional at Lincoln Way Elementary, Cornerstone Elementary and currently at Wooster High School. She is always willing to help out and does a little bit of everything to make the school run smoothly and be its best for the students and employees. She manages General Grounds coffee shop, assists students with disabilities in their academic endeavors, helps with dishes in the cafeteria, repairs school equipment, hems and tailors clothing for students in need, and makes the holiday season extra special through decorations, treats and service projects. McCoy is also a documentarian of sorts, always capturing special moments in the schools and proudly displaying them in a slideshow or scrapbook.
Her nominators call her a “fairy godmother” and noted her “dedication to her work and students is unparalleled. She always talks about ‘our students’ and treats each student in the high school as if they were her own. She is an inspiration and a gift to us all.”
“Phyllis provides a safe and warm environment for all students,” said Tyler Keener, principal of Wooster High School. “Our staff recognized her as someone who is always there to listen and put a smile on your face. Phyllis has a huge heart for all people. She exemplifies the Wooster Way in all that she does each and every day on the job.”
Each year, the Ralph R. and Grace B. Jones Foundation fund is awarded to those who exceptionally serve students and the community while demonstrating respect for their students, peers and members of the community. Recipients of the award are gifted an unrestricted $5,000 cash stipend.
“Congratulations to both Stan and Phyllis who work incredibly hard each day to make Wooster High School a safe, fun, accepting and inspirational place for students and staff members,” said Dr. Tefs. “They both represent and model the Wooster Way with terrific integrity and diligence.”