SPRING HILL — Joe Piecora was sitting at the celebration for Hernando School District school- and department-level Employee of the Year nominees when he heard his name called.
Piecora, 30, had just been named the district's School Related Employee of the Year.
He said his first reaction was to laugh.
"Because I was shocked. I was truly stunned," he said. "There were great people up there."
The Explorer K-8 data entry operator figured his selection might have been because of how he feels about his work.
"I love my job," he said. "I love what I do. I can do whatever is needed here at Explorer."
Piecora keeps very busy at the school. His duties include tallying attendance, doing the morning and afternoon announcements, coordinating substitutes, breakfast and lunch duty, and determining full-time equivalent numbers.
"And anything my principal asks me to do," he said.
He is busy after school, too, as cheerleading coach and assistant track coach.
He volunteers outside the school as a bingo caller at the Masaryktown Community Center and is secretary of the Florida Parent-Teacher Association. He said he was involved in PTA at the state level as the male involvement chairman when he was elected secretary. He remains on the male involvement committee and is on three others: membership, awards and leadership convention.
In what little free time he has, Piecora likes to relax and read. He also enjoys playing bingo. He participates in Relay for Life, too, with his father, a cancer survivor.
All of the nominees received plaques during the Nov. 22 celebration. Piecora received the Carolyn E. Mountain Award, named after the district's first education foundation administrative assistant, who suggested honoring support employees. He also received a $1,000 check, and his school administration gave him an etched glass award.
"I have a great administration," he said. "I work with an amazing office staff. I work really closely with guidance, and the guidance department is great."
The School Related Employee of the Year program is sponsored by Suncoast Credit Union and organized by the Hernando County Education Foundation. The celebration was held at Silverthorn County Club.