Award Info & Nomination Link

  • JCPS Difference Maker Award


    The JCPS Difference Maker Award is presented to district staff members and community partners who've gone above and beyond to serve our students, staff members and schools. Difference Makers are individuals, teams or groups who have made (or are making) a difference in our district. Nominate a Difference Maker here!

    JCPS will thank all Difference Makers nominated, and some, like those pictured below, will be recognized monthly at the JCPS Board of Education meeting. We love to spotlight Difference Makers that are tied to each of our three organizational pillars: Learning, Partnerships and Stewardship. 



  • Darian Werdehausen  

    Darian Werdehausen, Lawson

    Darian Werdehausen is the definition of a Difference Maker, and she deserves to be recognized for the difference she makes in the lives of each and every one of her students. Darian is a first year Special Education teacher at Lawson Elementary. Darian’s students have severe Autism, in fact, these students have the highest severity of Autism of all the students in the Jefferson City Public School District. To be a great teacher, you need to be kind, caring, compassionate, and loving. To be a Special Education Teacher to students with severe Autism you have to be all those things and more. You have to truly be an advocate. Darian is exactly that. Every day she is advocating for her students. Whether it be advocating for her students in the hallway, making sure other students and teachers understand the abilities of her students and treat them with equality and respect, or advocating for her students’ basic needs, making sure they have shoes, coats in the winter, and buddy packs sent home. Darian is ALWAYS advocating, which is especially important with her students as they are not able to advocate for themselves. That is what makes her so special. Unfortunately, statistics show that post secondary outcomes of students with severe Autism are very bleak. Darian is empowering her students at a very young age and making sure they reach their potential by giving them all the opportunity, education, and most of all love and support that she can. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -Dr. Seuss.(nominated by Kelly Markway, Colleague)



    JCPS Counselors

    JCPS School Counselors


    JCPS celebrated and recognized National School Counselors week February 4-8.  Our school counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career awareness in post-secondary options and social/emotional skills.  Comprehensive school counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. Nearly 30 JCPS school counselors and over 100,000 school counselors nationwide will participated in the week’s festivities. JCPS conducted a social media campaign, calling attention to the countless benefits of our comprehensive school counseling program.  National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), focuses public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors within U.S. school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlighted the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.


    JCPS Elementary Counselors:

    Belair, Toree Hamilton

    Callaway Hills, Keven Barger

    Cedar Hill, Jessica Engler

    East, Ruthie Eicholz

    Thorpe Gordon, Joyce Beard

    Lawson, Angie Schulte

    Moreau Heights, Shannon Gann

    North, Cissy Gehlert

    Pioneer Trail, Leigh Anne Long

    South, Whitney Estill

    West, Niki Atkinson


    JCPS Secondary Counselors:

    JCAC - Jessica Hoskins 

    JCHS - Carrie Welch, Diane Clayton, Kurt Hafley, Jamie Kennedy, Brandy Martin,

    Teshura Rogers, Lauren Winemiller 

    LCMS - Samantha Cassmeyer, Carrie DeSimone, Lauren Pierce

    NCC - Travis Plume 

     Simonsen - Jaime Marshall, Tim Ritter, Jessi Schaefer 

    TJMS - Cody Hillis, Lisa Bleich, Cara Duenow 




  • Nate Brinkley

    Nate Brinkley, East School

    Stewardship:  the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property - or in this instance - taking care of others!

    About three weeks ago I was curbside in front of my house trying to hoist three 40 lb. bags of topsoil up 12 steps.  It was very tough going. Suddenly, a car stopped, a man got out, he walked over with a big smile and said, "Let me help you."  He took the bags up to where I needed them, then introduced himself, said he works at East School and if I ever needed help to contact him.  I did not contact this generous man, but today - as he was en route to work at the school - he rang my doorbell, was smiling again (or still smiling?) and said, "I stopped to see if there's anything I can do for you."  His name is Nate Brinkley and I'm writing to praise his generosity, his thoughtfulness, kindness, polite demeanor, friendliness, all around goodness, and to say, 'What a grand PR guy he is for JCPS.' I thought you would like to know, and I hope you will find a way to honor Mr. Brinkley.  We need more people like him; thank God he's here in Jeff City and at nearby East School.
    (nominated by Katherine Hughes, Community Member)