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Faculty and Staff of the Week

MAY 15, 2023

"This Panther Praise is for Sonal Patel. Sonal helps promote the emotional well-being of our students by coaching them to make smart choices, regulate their emotions, and improve their coping skills. It is only with these skills our students can fully embrace The Panther Promise to “learn daily, laugh often, lead respectfully, and live responsibly”. Thank you for your contribution to improving the mental health of our students and helping them develop a positive mindset." - Timia Gardner

MAY 8, 2023

“My Panther Praise goes to Timia Gardner. Timia's soft-spoken words of wisdom and calm demeanor have made an impact on the lives of many students over the years.  Her eagerness and willingness to help with various programs and activities at Hayes is appreciated. Timia is the person behind the screens making sure everything shines!  Thanks for being a consistent source of strength for our students, staff and families at Hayes. When Ms. Gardner speaks...Panthers listen!" - Carla Mack

MAY 1, 2023

“I want to send Panther Praise to Carla Mack. She is always there for the students behind the scenes. She helps run many programs for the students and will always go out of her way to help teachers and students. She seems to know everyone in Lexington and can find whatever students or staff need. Never a complaint and always a smile...that is Carla Mack.” - Donald Dean

APRIL 24, 2023

"As a staff, we decided that we would like to pass the praise to Donald Dean.  Mr. Dean is always a pleasure to talk to.  He is the type of guy that doesn’t know a stranger, just a friend he hasn’t met yet.  He talks to everyone and always has a smile on his face.  And of course, Mr. Dean is very good with our ELL students." -  Cafeteria staff

APRIL 17, 2023


"I would like to pass on the Panther Praise to the Hayes cafeteria staff! As I have have numerous assignments in a lot of schools over the past 6+ years, this cafeteria staff is hands down the best. The best food, fast service, and friendly to staff and all students. I see interaction between staff and students that shows the students that they are important and cared for. This is extremely important for an atmosphere that’s encouraging for the middle school age. So happy to be able to be a part of this environment." - Joyce Squires

APRIL 10, 2023

"This week, I would like to recognize Joyce Squires.  For the past two years, she has jumped in not once but twice to save our school.  She has joyfully accepted positions in the middle of the year working with our most vulnerable students.  We are forever grateful to her for her willingness to work with our students and our school.  Her kindness, patience, and compassion have helped transition new students into a new classroom environment.  Thank you, Joyce, for your unwavering passion to serve." - From Jessica Moore

MARCH 27, 2023

"For this week's Panther Praise, I would like to shout out Jessica Moore. Jessica helps so much with WEB by always being super prepared and planned.  She does a lot of this work behind the scenes so we are always ready to go. She also does amazing with all of our intervention and special education students. If I ever come to her for help or question, she is always helping or looking to find me an answer. Jessica is awesome to work with because of her great personality and hard work. Thank you for everything, Jessica." - Maddie Malley

MARCH 20, 2023

"I would like to nominate Maddie Malley for this week's Panther Praise. Maddie is a phenomenal math teacher and all her kids, past and present, love her and her class. She is always working so hard to find new and engaging ways to teach, on top of taking on leadership within WEB and joining me in coaching the dance team this past year. I can without a doubt say I have no idea how I successfully coached dance until she joined me. Hayes and the dance team is so lucky to have her!" - Taylor Adams

MARCH 13, 2023

"I would like to nominate Taylor Adams for the Panther Praise this week. Taylor is a bright light for Hayes and does a great job in and out of the classroom. She does an amazing job with the Dance Team, she has made awesome shirts for staff, and she has helped our Coffee Cart by not only being a customer but also taking several donation spots to provide treats for us to sell. Taylor is a great example of what being a Panther is all about and we are lucky to have her back at Hayes." - Jason Rucker

MARCH 6, 2023

"I am passing the Panther Praise to Mr. Jason Rucker.  Jason embodies the Panther Promise on a daily basis.  He is currently enrolled at UK finishing his BS degree.  He has a wicked sense of humor.  You know this if he is a friend on Facebook.   He is respectful and helpful to students and staff, making sure everyone is treated fairly and has what they need to be successful.   He always goes the extra mile. This year, along with school and work, he has added basketball coaching.  It is a pleasure to work alongside him.   Thank you,  Jason, for all you do for everyone." - Mrs. B

FEBRUARY 27, 2023

"I would like to pass it on to Mrs. Bensberg. Before I became a part of the Panther family, I had the opportunity to substitute and work alongside the other paraprofessionals in Mrs. Ransdell's classroom. From the very first moment I started, she has been welcoming, inclusive, and accommodating of my addition to the team. Mrs. B has been an integral and essential part in educating and caring for the wellbeing of our students. She has set the bar and exceeds the standard for what it means to be a paraeducator. In leading and implementing our classroom activities and lessons, she is unparalleled in her ingenuity and creativity. She is patient and considerate with our kids and her insight and expertise knows no equal. I'm absolutely grateful to work alongside her and to learn from her example on how to be the best paraeducator to our students. Thank you for everything you do - I'm honored to be a part of the team!"   - Gregory Lawrence 

FEBRUARY 20, 2023

I would like to pass it on to Mr. Gregory Lawrence this week. Mr. Lawrence joined the Hayes family mid-year, and we are so blessed to have him. Jumping into a new job mid-year is tough, but he has handled it with grace! He is so patient and kind to the kids in his classroom. I can tell the kids are appreciative for his presence as well. Ms. Ransdell has an amazing group of veteran paraeducators in her classroom, and Mr. Lawrence has made a seamless transition to the team. I love being able to chat with their group when I need a laugh during the workday. Mr. Lawrence, I hope you feel welcome at Hayes. I know everyone in the building appreciates the hard work you do, especially with students who have a myriad of abilities. Thank you!- Emily Whitnell

FEBRUARY 13, 2023

I would like to pass it on to Ms. Emily Whitnell. I have been in her classroom both this year and last. She is inspiring, encouraging and all about the students. Emily has a unique ability to connect with each student in her classroom. She is strong, she is wise and she is an excellent teacher. We are so blessed to have her at Hayes. - Dale Smith

FEBRUARY 6, 2023

This week I would like to pass the Panther Praise to Coach/Pastor Dale Smith. I have gotten to know Coach Smith over the last nine years having coached with him as well as playing sports outside of the school day. He is very knowledgeable, funny, and an all around great dude! He teaches, coaches, and cuts up with the staff and students daily. He is a mentor to the students who participate in the get fit crew which offers them a chance to be a part of something at our school. Coach Smith brings the juice to Hayes everyday! I’m honored and thankful to have gotten to know him. More importantly, we are lucky to have him as a member of the Hayes family!- Jason Pack

JANUARY 30, 2023

This week I would like to nominate Jason Pack.  Coach Pack goes above and beyond each day filling in whatever roles Hayes needs.  I have worked with him the past three years coaching and I have seen first hand the time, effort, and energy he gives the boys and other coaches on a day to day basis.  He also works hard behind the scenes to make sure we are successful on and off the court.  Thanks again Coach for all you do!- Abel Logan

JANUARY 23, 2023

I'd like to pass the Panther Praise to Mr. Abel Logan. Mr. Logan has been super welcoming to me as a first-year teacher. He also has put a lot of effort into building relationships with students and it absolutely shows in how much they enjoy his class! I appreciate his intentionality in making sure all students are included and welcome. - Alyssa Pinney

JANUARY 16, 2023

I am passing the Panther Praise to Alyssa Pinney.  Alyssa truly cares about our kids, and works tirelessly to ensure their success.  Her wit and humor make difficult days better.  Alyssa is a great co-worker and teacher.  I’m honored to be her teammate. - Dawn Deaton

JANUARY 9, 2023

I want share some praise for my fellow Capricorn, Dawn Deaton and her tireless efforts to greet the first students arriving as early at 6:30 for Cheer, Dance and the REAL program. She seems to have an endless supply of patience and stamina, filling in wherever and wherever she is asked. I’m honored to be her teammate. - Joe Morgan

JANUARY 2, 2023

I’d like to give a shout out to Mr. Joe Morgan. Joe is caring, hardworking, and dedicated to his job. I look forward to our morning talks during hall duty- it is one of my favorite parts of the day. His students do not walk by without greeting him, which is a true testament to the type of teacher he is. He and Becky have been part of the Hayes family since the beginning and it’s comforting to know they aren’t going anywhere soon- they still have several more grandchildren to walk our halls! - LeAnn Hall

DECEMBER 12, 2022

I want to give a shout out to LeAnn Hall. Ms. Hall is always available to answer questions about what's new. Whenever I come out into the Hayes community, I can count on a welcoming smile from LeAnn, a sharing of trade secrets, and bringing me up-to-date on what was due the previous week. She is a hard worker and valuable partner in working with the Accelerated students. - Derrick Anderson

DECEMBER 5, 2022

I want to send a shout out to Mr. Derrick Anderson.  He’s not only great with his kids, but he is always smiling and laughing. His grasshoppers love his class, and he always pushes them to do their best.  He also always has a nice word to say to anyone he passes, and I appreciate his attitude and kindness.  Much love to you King Grasshopper! - Jimmie Lee Johnson

NOVEMBER 28, 2022

While I have numerous people that I would like to nominate for the outstanding work that they have done, I would like to nominate Jimmie Johnson for Panther of the Week. Jimmie's attitude is infectious, and he always knows the right things to say. Jimmie not only works extremely hard to make sure that our rooms are ready for the next day (I swear he has an extra set of arms with all the things that he has accomplished throughout the day), but he also works hard to get to know the people around him. Jimmie was one of the first people that I met here at Hayes. To be honest, I was nervous about coming to a new workplace. But after meeting Jimmie, I knew that all was going to be well. Jimmie has been a wonderful coworker, advice giver, and most importantly a friend. I always look forward to our daily meetings after general dismissal. It is always a highlight of my day. - Wil Bischoff

NOVEMBER 21, 2022

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours with a group of students on a trip to Locust Trace. This trip gave me a chance to see William Bischoff in action. He had quite a few challenging students to deal with, but never missed a beat in making sure that the kids soaked up as much information as they could. He is a wealth of agricultural knowledge, which was very apparent on this trip. On a personal note, Will is the kind of person that will do anything he can to help and is an overall great guy. - Sammy Hall

NOVEMBER 14, 2022

This week I would like to nominate Mr. Sammy Hall. I think everyone in the school would agree that there is not one person that Sammy hasn't taken care of in the building. He's always willing to jump in and help others to get the job done. We're truly blessed to have Mr. Sammy (jack of all trades) Hall. Thanks Bro. - Ty Henson

NOVEMBER 7, 2022

I want to recognize Ty Henson.  Ty is a true loyal Panther.  He goes above and beyond for our school, staff, and teachers, and he makes sure all of the little things get done behind the scenes. Ty takes pride in his work, and he is proud to be a Panther.  He takes time to know our kids and they all love him.  Our building wouldn’t be the same without Ty. - Eddie Chenault

OCTOBER 31, 2022

I would like to pass my Panther Praise on to Eddie Chenault. Eddie and his team do a wonderful job keeping this building looking great. Eddie is always willing to help us in any way he can,  from pushing milk down to the cafeteria after breakfast or helping take out the cafeteria’s recycling each day. Not to mention Eddie’s infectious laugh. Makes the day go much better when he is around. 

OCTOBER 24, 2022

I would like to pass the Panther Praise to Erik Ansley.  As the manager of our school’s cafeteria, he is responsible for feeding our students twice each day.  We have a huge middle school and this is not an easy job. If you have ever been in the kitchen part of the cafeteria, you would never guess that they are preparing food twice a day. It is always clean.  Erik always has a smile on his face and is willing to help the grade level team by storing food items in the refrigerator.  Every day he asks how I am doing and about the football team.  Thank you, Erik, for all that you do for our students!- Steve Railey

OCTOBER 17, 2022

I would like to pass the Panther Praise to Steven Russell Railey.  There are very few people who pour so much of their time, energy, heart, and soul into this building. Not only does he teach all day, but he also coaches football, mentors his boys' class, and is in grad school.  I have relied on his counsel almost every day this past summer and this school year.  He is an incredible asset to the 7th grade team, and I am so thankful he came to join us. I know he's going to gripe and moan because he feels that the Panther Praise shouldn't just be given to people on the same team, but he deserves it.  What he brings to a team is invaluable and irreplaceable. - Alexis Goforth

OCTOBER 10, 2022

I don't get to teach with Alexis Goforth this year, but that hasn't stopped her from taking care of me. Thank you for all the early morning pep talks and words of encouragement. Last year I got to see the amount of time and energy you put into your work just to make assignments more enjoyable for students. You always make sure the kids in your room are motivated and having fun. I miss getting to teach with her every day, but appreciate her always coming to talk to me and having a Diet Coke to offer.  - Peyton Ransdell

SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

I would like to pass it on to Peyton Ransdell. Peyton is new to our room this year, but you would never know it. She is compassionate, understanding, knowledgeable and brings a great energy to the classroom that makes learning fun. Thank you for your leadership. We are so lucky to have you!

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

I would like to nominate ONE of the unsung heroes of our building.  Kristi Shearer works in Room 509 as one of the paraeducators that perform miracles every day!  I know that each and every day brings challenges that are hard for many of us to imagine.  She works hard every day to meet the needs of the kids in her classroom and does so with a calm demeanor and a heart of gold.  Of course, I should know....she's my little sister!  But all family affiliations aside, I am amazed at what they can accomplish in room is miraculous! - Diane Bradley

SEPTEMBER 12, 2022

This week I would like to nominate the one and only, Mrs. Diane Bradley.  I think everyone in our school would agree that she goes above and beyond for us each and every day.  Diane is a problem solver, she's always willing to jump in and help others to get the job done. She never ceases to amaze me with her knowledge and willingness to learn new skills for her everchanging job each year... plus, she does it all with a smile on her face!  Diane is a tremendous asset to our school, and we're truly blessed to have her! - Ashlee VanHoose


I would like to nominate Ashlee Vanhoose for her outstanding work with the GT students.  As a former (GT) teacher I know the pressure and unrealistic expectations put on the GT teacher.  The parents, administration, and other teachers sometimes forget that a GT student has certain strengths---not everything is a strength.   Many folks overlook this program and the teacher because we don't understand what they do.  I have witnessed Ashlee being firm, professional, and caring with everyone she encounters.  She really believes that all students can be successful.   She is such an encourager to all our student population.  She creates high level critical thinking assignments that enhance deeper understanding of all areas. If you ever get a chance stop by and watch this lady in action.  All students at EJ Hayes are blessed to have her as a resource for their future success.-  Carl Willoughby

AUGUST 29, 2022

I would like to nominate Carl Willoughby. In my short time at Hayes, Carl has been a helping hand, an encouraging voice, and a guiding light for me. Carl’s optimism and positivity is consistent inside and outside of the classroom. He pushes his students in Drama to embrace creativity, communication, empathy and to use their imaginations to the fullest. Hayes is incredibly blessed to have Carl as a part of the team!- Margaret Dostart

AUGUST 22, 2022

I would like to nominate Margaret Dostart. For those of you who might not know, Margaret jumped into the art room mid-year last year and flourished. If you haven’t stopped by the art room, you are really missing out. Margaret has been busy transforming the room, which is amazing! Margaret challenges her students to reach their full potential all while wearing a smile on her face. Hayes is lucky to have you, Margaret! - Bonnie Litteral

AUGUST 15, 2022

I would like to nominate Bonnie Litteral.  Bonnie is another wonderful teacher in our building who is always looking for new ways to engage students and support them in their learning.  She always has a smile on her face and is a cheerleader for both her students and staff.  I've gotten to work with her more closely as a Kagan Coach these past few years and she always has great ideas on how to get everyone up, moving, and smiling.  Thanks for all you do!- Jessica Bohannon

AUGUST 8, 2022

I’d like to nominate Jessica Bohannon. Jessica is the type of teacher that never fails to go above and beyond. She is always engaging and finding ways to make sure that her students know that they belong in her room. Working with her closely when she was in sixth grade, I was able to observe and admire her patience, persistence, and passion for teaching. She is always willing to help others and is not judgmental towards anyone. She is kind and always welcoming to all. I’m grateful to have had her on my team, as my KTIP mentor, and as a friend. Thank you for being such a backbone to this school! -  McKenna Best

AUGUST 1, 2022

I would like to pass the Panther Praise to McKenna Best! If you need help with anything McKenna will volunteer. She works with WEB, Real Girls Stand Strong, SBDM counsel, Cougars Team Leader, and is a track coach. In addition, she is a strong relationship builder with students. Her students know that she is in their corner, and she is someone they can depend on. Her passion for her students is evidentinandoutoftheclassroom! McKenna, Hayes is lucky to have you as a teacher!! -  Steve Railey