PIQUA — The Piqua City Schools District recently named its Support Staff Member of the Year and Outstanding Teacher of the Year, highlighting two employees at the Piqua Junior High School.
The district recognized longtime employee and PJHS custodian Paul Doak as this year’s District Support Staff Member of the Year, honoring his two decades of experience working for Piqua City Schools.
“It was a surprise. It was a big surprise,” Doak said. He will also be receiving his 20-year award this year as well as he began working for the district in 1999.
When asked what his favorite part of the job was, Doak said, “I enjoy it all, really.” He noted he particularly enjoyed getting to see other people on the job, including communicating with other district employees and connecting with students. After previously working a night shift at the Piqua High School, switching to days at the junior high was the “difference between night and day” for Doak.
“It’s exhilarating,” Doak said. He also said that he gets along great with the kids.
“I challenge them every day to smile, be respectful, kind, responsible,” Doak said. “It’s great.”
Doak added that he was grateful to be nominated for this award by other employees.
“I really would like to thank the staff here for their confidence in me and their support,” Doak said.
Doak is a 1977 Sidney High School alumnus. He lives in Sidney with his wife Rebecca Doak. They have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.
The district also recognized PJHS teacher Josh Smith as the District Teacher of the Year. Smith began working for the district in 2006.
“It really means a lot,” Smith said. “I work with a lot of really great people … It’s a big honor.”
When Smith first started at Piqua schools 13 years ago, he taught as an intervention specialist and is now currently an eighth grade social studies teacher at PJHS.
“I enjoy getting to know family and students, being a part of the community,” Smith said.
For Smith, his role means more than just teaching students, but also means taking part in the community.
“I live here. I teach here. I coach here,” Smith said. Smith previously coached track for nine years and now helps out with football.
Smith enjoys being at the junior high, saying that everybody has a good attitude and that the building has good technology to use. He said that he is “pretty fortunate to go to work every day and really enjoy it.”
In addition to connecting with students, Smith also enjoys working with his coworkers.
“We’re a really close-knit staff … We support each other,” Smith said. He also recognized the efforts of PJHS Principal Jeff Clark and Assistant Principal Chad Albers, saying, “They really set the tone for our school.”
Smith is a 2001 Troy High School alumnus. He lives in Piqua with his wife Katie Smith, who also teachers at the high school and is the district’s athletic trainer. They have a son, Collin, who is almost six years old.
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