TASD Names Teacher of the Year and First Ever Classified Employee of the Year

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Jessica Bilbo is the Library Media Specialist at Harmony Leadership Academy in Texarkana, Arkansas. She has 14 years of experience, all with TASD.

Mrs. Bilbo received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s of Education in Library Media and Information from Southern Arkansas University. While attending, she was a member of the President’s Ambassadors and Alpha Sigma Alpha.

As the Library Media Specialist of Harmony Leadership Academy, Mrs. Bilbo strives to provide a library that is engaging and transformative. “I believe that all students should have access to books that will create lifelong readers and critical thinkers,” Mrs. Bilbo commented. She coordinates with teachers to provide research classes that offer an enrichment of classroom curriculum. Mrs. Bilbo has presented professional development sessions on research and technology at both the state and local level.

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Mrs. Bilbo is a National Board Certified Librarian and assisted in writing the 2013 Arkansas Library Media Curriculum Frameworks. Over the past 14 years, she has written successful grants totaling over $38,000 for the library. Mrs. Bilbo is also the campus webmaster and Facebook manager, as well as a member of the Lighthouse Team and Arkansas Leadership Academy.

Mrs. Bilbo is the current President of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, and a member of the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media. She is a faithful parishioner of Hardy United Methodist Church, where she leads the HIS Kids Choir. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter, who is a Harmony Leadership Academy student.

Fina Keys was recently named TASD Classified Employee of the Year; this is the first year for this recognition. Classified (non-certified) employees are vital staff members who play key roles in creating an environment that promotes student achievement, safety, and health. They work hand-in-hand with teachers and administrators to transport our students to and from school, keep our facilities safe and maintained, handle clerical and fiscal responsibilities, maintain computers and infrastructure, and provide extra support directly to our students.

William Arthur Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Fina Keys easily rests comfortably on the great end of that quote. The way that she loves her students and champions each of their causes is truly commendable. With over a decade of experience in the field of education, she is truly an asset to the profession.

She is a graduate of Arkansas Senior High School as well as Texarkana College. She presently works in the Texarkana Arkansas School District and was recently named the 2021-2022 Paraprofessional of the Year. She serves faithfully in the self contained special education classroom on the campus of Harmony Leadership Academy. She loves and attends to the diverse needs of every student as if they are her own personal children. She is an overcomer and serves so faithfully because she remembers the challenges that she had to overcome in her youth. Being told she would not be able to earn a living and would have to get on disability didn’t define or confine her, but it propelled her into her destiny. Over the years, she has defied odds and overcome barriers that were set before her. That sheer determination and grit, shapes the way she nurtures and cultivates the potential she sees in every child. She doesn’t see their limitations, but their limitless potential.

Ms. Keys is a lifelong learner and is always on a quest to learn how to best serve those in her care as she loves purely and powerfully. Her service to others does not stop with meeting the diverse needs of her students, but is extended beyond the campus into her home and community as well. She volunteers at the Randy Sams Homeless Shelter around the holidays serving meals to those who are in need. Ms. Keys recently became a foster mother and has created another safe, loving, and nurturing haven for children who may not otherwise have such. She is also a member of Full Gospel Holy Temple Church, where she joyfully serves in any capacity needed.

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