Kind, helpful, tolerant, dedicated. These are just a few of the words colleagues used to describe our first Staff Spotlight honoree: Tom Joseph, computer assistant/paraprofessional at Lakewood City Academy. Although if you ask his colleagues, his title does not do him justice. Those at LCA will tell you that Tom is a critical link to the success of LCA’s students.
Tom is responsible for making sure that students who are taking online classes are on track and that all the necessary paperwork is being completed for the state. He sets the students up with the online orientation and handles any software and hardware needs. He is also the go-to guy for any technical issues at the school.
In his role helping students keep on top of their online course work, he often stays hours past his regular day’s end or comes in early. He serves as an unofficial coach for the students, always ready to offer an encouraging word and always seeing the potential in each of them. Currently, he is overseeing about 21 students.
“Watching the kids grow and progress is what keeps me coming back,” said Joseph, who says he considers resigning at the end of every year. This is his 12th year at LCA.
It’s not an easy job to keep a struggling student on task but those who nominated Joseph say he’s the man for the job. Said one nominator: “Tom is very passionate about the students. He connects with many of our at-risk youth, which aids in helping them to succeed in school.”
Joseph has somehow find a way to connect with the students so that they want to succeed.
“I push them, guide them, talk to them and find out what motivates them,” he says of his approach.
The respect Tom has earned from his colleagues was evident in the number of staff members who nominated him for this award. One such nomination summarizes the feelings Tom has engendered in his peers: “Tom is the unsung hero at Lakewood City Academy…. He is consistently kind, positive and hard-working. He goes above and beyond. He never looks for recognition, but he is our foundation.”