WEEKI WACHEE — When Bryan Blavatt became school superintendent, he established the Hernando HEROES program, the acronym standing for Hernando Educators Reaching Out to Every Student.
Blavatt started the program to recognize educators, be they teachers or others, for exceptional efforts made in reaching out to students, said district communications and public relations manager Roy Gordon. It has been in place for about three years.
Nominations most often come from within the district, but it is possible for a teacher or school-related employee to be nominated by someone in the community. Such was the case for Winding Waters K-8 second-grade teacher Jo Maher, nominated for her work encouraging students to research historic characters and produce a "wax" museum.
During the activity, students learn about a person of significance, prepare a presentation, create a costume and recite the information, posing as "wax" figures. This program involves parents and other community members who are invited to the show.
Maher appreciated the honor and recognition, but gave credit to those who helped.
"I could not do what I do without the awesome people that are here," she said. "What I get to do is because of all the help I have around me."
Part of the Hernando HEROES recognition is a video-taping of the person in action, which is then aired on Hernando Instructional Television. The educator receives a certificate and a mug, specially designed by a student.
Hernando HEROES, Gordon said, are "people doing fantastic things."