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SC Whitmore School Names Paula Hurley 2024 Staff Member of the Year

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Columbia, SC – SC Whitmore School (SCWS), a statewide online public charter high school, has named Graduation Coach, Paula Hurley as its 2024 Staff Member of the Year. 

Hurley’s desire to enter the education field and help others started at a very young age. “I have always wanted to work in education. I can remember teaching my dolls when I was very young. My mother was an educator and I spent a great deal of time in her classroom. I have happy memories helping her with her bulletin boards. She did the same for me many years later. My mother always told me to be kind and stay professional while working with my students. You don’t know what is going on in our student’s lives. You might be the best part of their day,” said Hurley.

When Hurley was a junior in high school she had an amazing school counselor named Mr. Houlihan. He was always there for his students, “Our school counselor knew everyone’s name and was really easy to speak to. He listened to his students. Mr. Houlihan made everyone feel special. He encouraged me to take a psychology class. I really enjoyed that class and I knew I wanted to be like Mr. Houlihan. He is still my professional role model. I still go to him for advice,” said Hurley.

Hurley later graduated from Salem State University earning her undergraduate degree in Psychology. She earned her master’s degree in School Counseling from Cambridge College. 

Hurley joined the SCWS staff in August of 2019. She is grateful to be able to work with so many wonderful students and the opportunity to collaborate with caring and professional staff members.

SC Whitmore School Principal, Eboné Adams said, “Paula is such a caring soul. She truly advocates for our students and does everything in her power to motivate our students to achieve their goals. Her positive demeanor is so contagious which is very much needed when our students are experiencing such trying times. Paula not only motivates and supports our students, she’s great to work with and her colleagues would agree as well, hence the well-deserved nomination.”

“I enjoy being supportive to those in need. I always remind my students how amazing they are. I believe perseverance and hard work do pay off. There is a solution we just need to find it together. “Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars ”- Norman Vincent Peale,” said Hurley.

Communication is important in school and a big part of being successful in virtual school. “Staying positive and communicating with others is very important to me. I set personal and professional goals and try to stay focused on them. I enjoy being creative and finding new ways to help our students. We have a great team at SCWS. We are student-focused and supportive of each other,” said Hurley.

The SC Whitmore School Staff of the Year Award was a nice surprise and brings Hurley great joy. “I am so grateful to have been chosen as the Staff Member of the Year by so many amazing people that I truly admire, said Hurley. “You have brought a great deal of joy into my life. Thank you.”

SC Whitmore School Executive Director Kim Dunbar said, “It is such a joy working with Paula. She is always positive and finds so many different ways to support and connect with students. Her colleagues have so many flattering comments about her and her work ethic such as, “Paula has the biggest heart of anyone I know! She meets her students where they are and doesn’t give up on them, regardless of the situation. I am so thankful that our seniors have Paula in their court!” and “Paula embodies all of the positive aspects of our school. She goes above and beyond to make sure all of our students are taken care of. She is incredibly caring to not only our students, but to our staff as well. We are a better school because of Paula’s ongoing efforts.” Paula truly makes us all better and we are lucky to have her as a part of our SCWS family.”

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