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Sun City star gets a Gold Star

Pictured from left to right are Sun City Elementary Principal Kimberly Tuminello, Gold Star winner Pam Naifeh and Jill Valentine from Bossier Federal Credit Union. (Courtesy photo)

Submitted by Sonja Bailes, Bossier Schools Public Relations Liaison

Pam Naifeh is the epitome of a teacher’s cheerleader. The only thing missing is the pom-poms.

An educator with Bossier Schools for 43 years, Naifeh knows what teachers need and has a wealth of experience she readily shares with them. From the 38 years spent as a first grade teacher and Master Teacher at Central Park to the last five years as academic coach at Sun City Elementary, Naifeh has seen lots of changes firsthand and enjoys playing a supportive role to fellow educators.

“The children are my heart and teachers have so much on them, so if I can help lessen their load so they can be there for a child, because teaching is such a hard job. They wear so many hats,” Naifeh said.

Naifeh also wears many hats and sports them exceptionally well. Though her plate is full as testing coordinator, working with educators and administration to achieve student growth, assisting with lesson planning and modeling lessons to teachers, Naifeh will put her own workload to the side to come to the aid of someone who needs it.

“She makes you feel like you are a rock star at your job,” said Emily Arledge. “She even goes and does duty every morning for different teachers so we have a surprise break. She is always there to try and make our job easier. I cannot say enough good things about her.”

“I am a first year teacher and she has been such a blessing,” said Amber Rei. “She constantly checks on me to see if I need anything. She is there for words of wisdom or encouragement when it has been needed. She has come to teach my lessons when I have had to go observe my mentor for Bossier CARES … She is the perfect example of a shining star here at Sun City!”

Described as the consummate professional, advocate for teachers and students, and willing to go the extra mile without asking for anything in return, Naifeh shines bright at Sun City. It is no wonder her colleagues came together to nominate her as Bossier Schools’  Gold Star employee for the month of March, then were Naifeh’s cheerleaders when she was surprised with the award at a school-wide assembly.

“This faculty is over the top anyway, but for them to take the time to do this with all they have to do …” Naifeh paused as she collected her thoughts and spoke from her heart. “They embraced me from the minute I got here. I feel blessed.”

Principal Kim Tuminello said this month’s award could not have gone to a more deserving educator.

“She has put in many, many years of service, but still has the drive of a brand new educator,”  Tuminello explained. “Anytime teachers are feeling down, she is always the first person to step up and remind them of the reason that we are here. ‘The kids.’ As an administrator, I value her experience and ideas. She walks in the door with the quick walk that only she can do and gets to business each and every day. She is the true meaning of a Gold Star. I would have to say I am the luckiest principal around by being lucky enough to have Ms. Naifeh as our academic coach.”  

“Looking back at my career, this is the icing on the cake,” Naifeh reflected. “Bossier has been good to me and I’ve been blessed over the years.”

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.