Position: Instructional Paraprofessional School: Mount Tabor Elementary School
School District: Parsippany Troy-Hills School District
City, State: Mt. Tabor, New Jersey
About the Nominee: Sharon Dickerson was nominated by a colleague, Jacqueline DeMarco.
Mrs. Dickerson is a natural educator. She is an outstanding paraprofessional with the heart and instinct of a true teacher. She serves on the executive board of her Paraprofessional Association and is always being given extraordinary responsibilities at school due to her exceptional integrity, capability and sense of responsibility. In addition to running small group instruction and working one-on-one with students with learning disabilities, Mrs. Dickerson has been asked to supervise students with life-threatening allergies. She has spent countless hours of her own time reviewing material and making sure that her one-on-one time with students is well spent, and that she is meeting all of their individual needs. According to Ms. DeMarco, many parents of her students say that she has made their children feel more comfortable and confident in their abilities. Mrs. Dickerson and her family held a major role in re-opening Mount Tabor Elementary School in 1998. She has supported the school with numerous donations ever since, the largest of which was funding an outdoor classroom for all students to enjoy. Each and every student that Mrs. Dickerson has worked with at Mt. Tabor School has undoubtedly been positively impacted by her presence.
Additionally, the school has become a nicer, kinder, more generous and motivational place to work and learn because of so many things that Mrs. Dickerson has done. Each year, she chooses to do various acts of kindness at Mt. Tabor School. There is not a single person at Mt. Tabor School that hasn't been touched by her kind heart. These acts include birthday cards for each staff member, hand crocheted afghans for every new baby born in the Mt. Tabor community, special gifts and treats for each staff member for every holiday and special items for those leaving our school. Most recently, Mrs. Dickerson has made hundreds of smiley faces with inspirational messages on them for each and every staff member. On the first of every month, she posts them near each staff member's room to serve as inspiration each and every day. Mrs. Dickerson lives by the saying “Pay It Forward.” Everything that she does helps her colleagues smile larger, work harder and make a larger difference in all of their students’ lives. She has encouraged and motivated her colleagues to “Pay it Forward” to their students.
Not only is Mrs. Dickerson an integral and inspirational member of the Mt. Tabor School community, but she is also a pillar of her home community. All of those who are a part of it have benefited from her unequaled generosity and kindness. Mrs. Dickerson volunteers at the United Methodist Church in Mount Tabor through teaching Sunday School and running their Thrift Shop. Additionally, the Dickerson Family vacations certainly do not fit the common footprint set by society these days. They are not a surprise, however, those who know her. For the last five years, Mrs. Dickerson and her family have traveled to Guatemala to build houses for families in need. She has also raised money, both inside and outside of school, in conjunction with the Kiwanis K-Kids organization to provide these families with necessary items for their homes.
Mrs. Dickerson is loyal and true. She has supported, cared for, gifted, uplifted, impressed, cheered, humbled, inspired and enriched each and every student and colleague whom she has worked with. Through all she has done, and all that she is, she has changed the lives of her students, colleagues and community.