By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here
Posted: May 31, 2018 | 12:40 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – Prince George County Public Schools has named Charlotte Mayes Simms as the 2018 division-wide Support Employee of the year.
Simms works as a paraprofessional and in-school suspension coordinator at the Prince George Education Center. School Board Chairman Robert Cox Jr. said that Simms is always smiling, and he said he has never seen a child who could get Simms to change her demeanor.
“They mean a lot to her,” Cox said. “She treats them like they’re her own.”
Simms is from Petersburg, and she graduated from Petersburg High School. She earned her associate’s degree in business from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and she went on to seminary at Virginia Union University. Simms began her career in education as a bus driver in Petersburg and then worked in Prince George as a bus driver, car driver, and a one-on-one aide for a student with special needs before moving to the Prince George Education Center.
Her career began in part as a means of helping her to support herself and her two sons after the death of her first husband, but she also loves education and continues to try to learn more herself.
“My grandmother and grandfather always told me, ‘You can work all you want to, but education is something no one can ever take away from you, because once you have education, that you can always fall back on,’” Simms said.
In her role at the education center, Simms works with students who are not handling the classroom setting and tries to help them get their work done and their behavior in line so they can return to class. Simms acknowledges that it is not a job for everyone, but she loves it.
“You have to love what you do,” she remarked.
For Simms, the best part of her job is seeing the students learning to take responsibility for their actions and realizing that they can make something of themselves. She especially enjoys it when students who have graduated come back.
“They come back and they say, ‘You know, you all really did care for us.’ That means a lot,” Simms said.
Prince George Education Center Principal Mattie Thweatt said in an email that Simms is an instrumental part of the school’s team and an asset to the school division.
“She has a phenomenal relationship with our students,” Thweatt said. “This honor is very well deserved.”
In addition to working as a paraprofessional, Simms serves as an associate minister at Royal Baptist Church in Petersburg. She is also in the process of launching her own business, a bakery called Emmaline’s Pastries in honor of her late mother. Simms’s children, Bryant Mayes III and Eric Mayes, both live in Maryland, and she has two grandchildren, Peyton and Pipper.
The Support Employees of the Year from every building were honored at the May school board meeting. They include Suzanne Brockwell of William A. Walton Elementary, Tracy Brunner of J. E. J. Moore Middle School, Wanda Coleman of Prince George High, Bonnie Foster of L. L. Beazley, Tracy Irvin of North Elementary, Clarzell Jones of the transportation department, Angela Mitchell of the school board office, Patricia Nesbitt of David A. Harrison Elementary, Brandy Sturm of South Elementary, Cynthia Tyler of N. B. Clements Jr. High, and Brian Wood of the maintenance department.