Instructional assistants are very much considered a teacher’s best friend. Quite often, a student’s goal for a successful year depends upon the additional help that the IA is able to offer. McCleary has four full-time IA’s, and they each play a vital role in the school.
Miss Whitney Stanley helps with every grade level at McCleary. She grew up in Craig County and graduated from CCHS in 2014. She is working on getting her degree in Special Education through Liberty University online. She resides in Craig, along with her family. She would like to work with pre-kindergarten students or severely autistic students once she completes her degree. Miss Stanley stated, “I love being able to teach and work with some of my former teachers. It really gives you a different perspective.”
Mrs. Amanda Sarver has worked with students from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. She has been with the school system for 15 years. She commented, “I love children, and I love watching them learn new things.” Mrs. Sarver lives in Craig County with her husband, Scott, and their two children, Samantha and Nathanial. Mrs. Sarver is in the process of getting her teacher’s license. She has wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl.
Mrs. Donna Jones was hired as a full-time IA this year. She previously worked at Allstate for 25 years. After leaving Allstate, she became a very familiar face at McCleary as both a volunteer and a substitute teacher. She and her husband, Mike, and their son live in Craig County. Mrs. Jones commented that even though McCleary is small “I like that you can get to know each child personally.”
Mrs. Dee Dee Smith has worked with pre-school through fifth-grade students over 27 years. Before coming to McCleary as an IA, she worked at the Craig County Child Care Center, serving as director for seven years. After leaving the child care center, she and her husband, Benji, became foster care parents. She entered the school system as a substitute, before becoming a special education assistance. She and her husband are Craig County natives. They have a farm in the Sinking Creek Valley. They also have two grown children and three grandchildren. Mrs. Smith stated, “I enjoy working in Craig with families that I know and have grown up with. I like working and giving back to my community.” She refers to herself as “a crazy chicken lady,” and has a pet rooster named Peeps. When she is not working with children, she enjoys photography and taking pictures of all forms of nature.