MSEA’s Education Support Professional of the Year Sherry Mayne gets it. Everyone wants to be seen, to be recognized, and to be heard. In her position as school security assistant at Century High School in Carroll County, she gets to be many things to many students, but maybe the most important is being a friendly face outside the classroom setting whose genuine interest in them is success oriented but not directly tied to their academic life. “Seeing the students outside the classroom helps me build meaningful and trusting relationships in different ways. I’ve learned to pick up on students who may be sad, depressed, excited, or just genuinely happy. When I can gauge their mood, I can help redirect them towards a more positive perspective.”
Sherry’s first job in education was as a special ed instructional assistant, where she learned to be prepared for the unexpected. The skills she learned there, her communication with both students and educators, and the required job training that she received are helpful now that she often serves as an intermediary between students and other staff. “It’s so helpful to be able to communicate in a way I know is appropriate for everyone. I travel through the whole school, and that allows me to visit teachers and students along the way. As I walk the halls, I can see how everyone is communicating and that gives me an intimate understanding and feel of the school on any given day.”
Sherry’s many union roles at MSEA include serving as co-chair of the Women’s Concerns Committee, which sponsors the Women’s History Month program and the Women’s Leadership Training for which she designed the required course project. Sherry is secretary of her local union, the Carroll Association of School Employees (CASE), and is a building rep, a member of the membership committee, and is currently redesigning the CASE website. And, she’s just as busy serving her community by running a school-based food bank, a vital service during school closure.
“We know that it’s members like Sherry who keep schools running smoothly, making the connections between what’s happening inside the classroom and in other school spaces,” said MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “Representing support staff in such an exemplary way and in such a high-profile position makes her an ideal role model for students and fellow staff, and just as importantly, for her fellow union members.”