Return to Headlines

Southwood TA, Northwest custodian win district honors

Two LCPS staff members known for their hard work and bright personalities have garnered the first of several awards to be presented by the district to outstanding employees over the coming weeks.

 Seven people pose behind an African American woman holding. balloons.Tameka Roach of Southwood Elementary School is the 2023-2024 Teacher Assistant of the Year; and Anthony Underhill, a custodian at Northwest Elementary School, is the 2023-2024 LCPS Non-Instructional Classified Staff of the Year.

Both were chosen for the awards during a process that began with nominations from schools, submission of an information form to a panel of judges comprised of district administrators and an interview of each candidate by the judges. Roach and Underhill learned of their awards when a prize patrol led by Superintendent Brent Williams surprised them at their schools.

Roach joined LCPS and the Southwood staff three years ago and is a bus driver in addition to assisting in the kindergarten classroom of teacher QuaShanda McCormick. She is a member of Southwood’s School Improvement Team, an active supporter of school fundraisers and events and a volunteer for afterschool activities.

“We are so blessed that Mrs. Roach is a part of the Southwood family,” Dr. Heather Lancaster, principal, said. “She is truly loved by all of our students and staff, not only because she is a wonderful educator but also because she is a wonderful person. She goes above and beyond for our children each day.”

Roach earned an associate degree in general education from Pitt Community College and Apple Teacher Certification while with LCPS.

“I have a true passion for working with our youngest learners,” she said. “I always want to be in a position where I can help anyone in any way I can, especially our youth. As a teacher assistant, I find myself doing just that. If I can make a huge different in one child’s life that means I’ve done my job.”

She and her husband, Montrelle, have been married for 19 years and have three daughters.

Underhill joined LCPS and the Northwest st

African American man holding balloons poses in a line with five other people.

aff four years ago. In addition to his custodial duties, he helps oversee the safety of students during arrival and dismissal, assists with in-school safety drills and is valued for his mentorship of students and the positive atmosphere he encourages at the school.

“He comes to work each day with a smile on his face,” Northwest principal Christy Eubanks said. “His positive words and actions contribute to the climate of Northwest on a daily basis. He has built relationships with students and staff and has adopted ‘special friends’ among students that he mentors and checks on daily.”

A youth basketball and football coach, Underhill sees himself as part of a team at Northwest. “I believe that when everyone works together, we can achieve our goals and more,” he said. “We must realize that our primary goal is to make sure that the students of Northwest Elementary are encouraged, safe and successful.”

The Teacher Assistant and Classified awards are the first of four honors presented to LCPS employees in the spring. The 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year award will be announced at the Employee Recognition Banquet on April 18. Principal of the Year will be announced at a later date.

Photo captions (from top):

Tameka Roach, the 2023-2024 LCPS Teacher Assistant of the Year, holds balloons presented her during a surprise appearance by the Prize Patrol. They are, from left, Superintendent Brent Williams, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, Associate Superintendent Frances Herring, Mrs. Roach and husband Montrelle, Southwood principal Dr. Heather Lancaster, Beginning Teacher Support Coordinator Jennifer Sutton and Beginning Teacher Coordinator Lynn Morris.

Anthony Underhill, the 2023-2024 LCPS Non-Instructional Classified Employee of the Year, gets the balloons and good news of his award from Prize Patrol members, from left, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, Superintendent Brent Williams, Associate Superintendent Frances Herring, Northwest Elementary principal Christy Eubanks and Bruce Hill, chair of the Lenoir County Board of Education.