SPRING HILL — If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a lot of support personnel to educate one. And such were the candidates honored Jan. 7 at the Hernando County School District's School-Related Employee of the Year celebration.
Each school or district work site nominated one person, and, of those 27, Pam Cannon was selected as this year's district winner. Cannon, the confidential secretary to the principal at Explorer K-8 School, tearfully acknowledged the tribute.
"I'm so very honored to be standing here among these wonderful nominees," she said. "I was surprised, shocked, stunned, overwhelmed, happy. I'm very honored and proud to represent Hernando County."
Jan. 7 is a significant date to Cannon, a reminder of the very sad day five years ago when she lost her sister. "It was just a big, emotional moment," she said of winning the honor.
Cannon's mother, Carolyn Slone, said she was "very proud" of her daughter and, remembering the significance of this date, added, "It's a bad day turned good day."
Cannon's principal, Lisa Braithwaite, answered the difficult question of why her employee was selected over all the others.
"For everything she does every day," Braithwaite said. "She's so giving to everyone. It was an obvious choice. Anyone you talk to in the district, they're appreciative of Pam and always have kind things to say."
Cannon's duties as the principal's secretary include: handling the payroll, benefits, phone calls and calendar; finding substitute teachers; organizing for the assistant principals, and posting paperwork for hires.
Cannon's husband, Tom Cannon; son, Phillip Cannon; and daughter, Emilie Cannon, along with her mother, were with her for the luncheon and were thrilled for her.
Tom Cannon works with his wife at Explorer K-8 as a custodian and understands why she won.
"I see it every day," he said. "I see how the teachers interact with her. She does everything with a sense of humor and gets it done."
Her children are proud of her, too. "She's just the best mom we could ever ask for. She's very strong," Emilie said.
"She loves going to work every day," Phillip said, "and I've known she's the best for a long time, and now everyone's recognized who she is."