Sumter County Board of Education celebrates April teachers and parents in support of students

Published 7:51 am Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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Dr. Torrance Choates continues his “Teachers and Parents in Support of Students” recognition program at the monthly Board of Education Meetings. For the month of April, the Sumter County Primary School’s principal, Dr. Renee’ Mays and assistant principal, Mrs. Rosemary Jones recognized the following:

Teacher – Dr. Mary Smith Butts

Student – Melanie Duque

Parent Volunteer – Mr. James Cutts

Paraprofessional – Mrs. Pearl Poou

Custodian – Mr. Eddie Lawson

Mrs. Rosemary Jones, assistant principal, presented the first to honorees of the evening, Melanie Duque and Mayor James Cutts.

Melanie Duque is a first grade student in Mrs. Stephenson’s class. Mrs. Stephenson stated that, “Melanie is one of the hardest working students I’ve had in my class in 21 years. She has such a strong desire to learn and her thirst for knowledge shows in her work.” Melanie attends every class session and actively participates in discussions. She completes every assignment neatly and on time. It is very evident that education is important to Melanie’s family. She is also very well-mannered and respectful of everyone. Melanie is a sweet, caring child who strives to do her best in everything she attempts.

Congratulations to Little Ms. Melanie Duque!!!

There is a saying, “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them.” Mayor James Douglas Cutts, Sumter County Primary School wants you to know that we appreciate and honor you as the SCPS Volunteer of the Year.  We have known and worked with Mr. Cutts for more than twenty-five plus years and have always found him dependable, efficient, and professional. In fact, we have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to details as he does. Mr. Cutts is a graduate of the Sumter County Class of 1973.

Mayor Cutts is helpful, caring, resourceful, and happy to offer service no matter the task. He often performs above and beyond as when he served on the Cognia Advance-Ed Panel, Culinary Catering, and as a mentor to our students.  He is a true Superhero for education with a tireless commitment to serving our community. Mr. Cutts is always willing to pitch in for the good of the community regardless of the mission, be it Mayor of the big town of DeSoto, Georgia or Bus Driver for Sumter County School. His father, the Late Mr. Charlie Cutts, served for 30 plus years as a bus driver as well.

Mrs. Rosemary Jones, assistant principal for Sumter County Primary School said, “In our local community, Mayor Cuts has served many years with various outreach ministries. He has exemplified the mission of our school and has positively impacted the people of our community. His skills, knowledge, willingness to help others, and dedication to our school and the community makes him an excellent candidate to receive the SCPS Volunteer of the Year Award for 2020-2021.”

Congratulations to Mayor James Cutts!!!

Dr. Renee Mays, principal of SCSP introduced the next honoree, Mrs. Pearl Poou. She has been with the school system for one year. However, you would think that she is a veteran of many years. Mrs. Perla Poou attended Luther Burbank High School in San Antonio, TX, then went on to Texas Careers (Kaplan University) where she received a degree in medical assistance and licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LVN)

Mrs. Poou and her husband, Alberto have been married for 11 years and they have 3 beautiful children.  Katie, age 6, a Kindergartener at Sumter County Primary; Mylo, age 8, a 2nd grader at Sumter Elementary, and Ailea, age 11, a 5th grader at Sumter Intermediate.

Her partner teacher, Mrs. Felisa Parrott shared, “It has been an honor working with Mrs. Poou this year.  She always goes above and beyond her expected duties by calling parents, translating, motivating students, or doing whatever it takes to help. Whenever I feel as though virtual teaching is getting the best of me, she always has kind, inspiring words that help me push through.  Mrs. Poou’s enthusiasm is contagious and her uplifting spirit not only lights up our virtual classroom, but also that of our entire Kindergarten team.”

Congratulations to Mrs. Poou!!!

The honoree recognized by Dr. Mays, was Mr. Eddie Lawson, custodian. Dr. Mays stated that he is the epitome of a hard worker.   He has served the Sumter County School system for 19 years.

Some of the qualities and attributes that describe him include compassionate, friend, Christian, God-fearing, loving, and avid baseball and football fan.

Things that are important to him include his three brothers and three sisters.  He said the following about his parents: “Our mother and father have passed away and we are still here…loving one another like they would want us to.” Mr. Lawson is also a surrogate father to three young ladies that currently reside in his home.

He has a special place in his heart for the Sumter County Primary family.  He is quoted as saying, “I love the Primary staff.  They are a loving staff some days…bring joy and some misunderstanding, but at the end of the day, we all love one another.”  He also stated that he likes being around children in school and seeing them learning with joy.

Mr. Lawson enjoys going to church where he is able to read and hear the Word of God.  In his spare time, he enjoys listening to gospel music and watching television.  He likes staying home when he is not working.

Mr. Lawson is also a spiffy dresser and prides himself on dressing neat each day when reporting to work.  Because he believes “Dressing neat because it represents God.”

Congratulations to Mr. Lawson!!!

Dr. Mays concluded by recognizing Dr. Mary Smith Butts, kindergarten teacher at SCPS. Dr. Butts has been an educator for over 28 years. She has been with the Sumter County School System 21 years. Born Dec. 18th to the parents of Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Smith Sr., Mary is the baby of the dozen. (she is number 12).

Mary is married to Sherwood Butt and they have two children, Morgan who is a Pharmacy Student at Mercer University and Tre who is an Aviation Student at Middle Georgia. Mary is a graduate of Americus High School and both of her children are graduates of Americus-Sumter High School.

Mary is a very kind and generous person. She has no problem sharing with other people and goes the extra mile to help friends and loved ones. Mary is very optimistic, and has a pay it forward attitude when it comes to doing for others. She is straightforward, free spirited and drawn to life’s thrills. She and her husband love to travel. The farthest she’s been so far as to Africa.

Mary is a “go getter” with tons of ambitions and goals. This is year number 28 for Dr. Butts. She serves on the SCPS Leadership Team and is a phenomenal Kindergarten teacher. She always brings treats to share with the staff. One of my favorite instructional strategies of Dr. Butts is how she uses all five senses to teach the alphabet and ends each week with a delicious tasty treat.  She is super creative. Her partner teacher, Mrs. Tracy Douglas, summed up working with Dr. Butts by stating, “she is just awesome and a joy to work beside each day.”

Congratulations to Dr. Smith-Butts!!!

Dr. Mays concluded her presentation by thanking Dr. Torrance Choates and the members of the Sumter County School board for the opportunity to highlight just a few members of the SCPS Family. The school also presents the board members with a basket of goodies. Dr. Mays, “And, may I add-thanks to the SCS Board, Mrs. Merritt. and the Finance Department for our Bonus Checks. It was greatly appreciated. Again, thanks for all that you do!!!”