UVA Today is highlighting the winners of the 2012 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Awards, the highest U.Va. honor staff receive for their dedicated service to the University. Today: Ed Brooks of Facilities Management. To see all of the stories, click here.
May 16, 2012 — Jennifer Partin, an administrative assistant at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, is seeing Commencement 2012 from another perspective.
Partin will walk across the stage May 19 as a graduating student, shake hands with Provost Sanders Huguenin and join the ranks of Wise alumni. She is earning her bachelor's degree in business administration nearly three decades after finishing high school.
"When I graduated high school, I wanted to take time off before college," said Partin, who works in the Center for Teaching Excellence.
"I got a job in a local bank just before it was time for classes. It was a good job for a 17-year-old."
She stayed with the bank for nearly 14 years, but her desire to pursue a college degree persisted. She later took an administrative assistant position in Wise County Public Schools, but kept thinking about the benefits of higher education.
She landed her current job at the College at Wise eight years ago. The Center for Teaching Excellence is committed to serving the professional development and in-service needs of teachers and administrators in the public schools of Virginia.
Working on campus provided more than enough incentive to finally pursue the elusive degree, and her hard worked paid off this spring. Her family – husband Randy, daughters Brittney and Brianna and son Bryson¬ – are proud of her accomplishment.
James Wardell, director of the teaching center, and Heather Blanton, instructional technologies coordinator there, nominated Partin for the Outstanding Contribution Award.
"Jennifer has demonstrated herself to be an outstanding worker and a natural leader," they wrote in the nomination letter. "Her involvement in CTE activities extends beyond the workday and demonstrates a commitment to all aspects of our program."
Partin regularly exceeds expectations by providing support to instructors, addressing teacher licensure issues, answering questions from teachers who need the center's services, and by working closely with other departments at the College at Wise.
"I enjoy helping teachers," she said. "I am in a family of educators. Teachers are underappreciated, and I know how hard they work."
— by Kathy Still