Shock a pleasant feeling this time

The School Related Employee of the Year then gives credit to her co-workers and chief.

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE, Times Correspondent
Published November 17, 2007

SPRING HILL - Nina Mock's hand flew to her chest, then to her mouth, reflexively trying to contain the huge and delighted grin that had overtaken her. Still stunned, she accepted the flowers and honors that come with being the 2007-2008 Hernando County School Related Employee of the Year.

At a celebration of all the school and site level School Related Employees of the Year on Thursday night at Palace Grand, Mock was chosen the best in her field.

As she addressed the audience, she had a novel excuse for being at a loss for words. "I was going to have a speech, but all the writers are on strike," she quipped, referring to the work stoppage of the Writers Guild.

Mock, who gingerly navigated the facility's stage steps after having back surgery Monday, works in the school district's finance/payroll department as an accounting assistant.

Mock was quick to give credit to her co-workers. "They're the ones that make me look good," she said, referring to her "two right arms," Mary Verner and Grace McKnight, as well as her supervisor, Sandy Revels.

Her duties include balancing and assisting with the processing of the biweekly payroll for 3,800 employees. She processes final payoffs of sick leave and vacation leave when employees resign or retire.

Working with paychecks makes her popular, she said. "Everybody likes me," she said with a laugh.

Mock, 57, is a liaison with the human resources department, allocates all leave, assists timekeepers with resolutions to questions and runs reports as requested.

After beginning with the district at Hernando High School in 1978, she transferred to the old Moton Elementary School, where she worked as a bookkeeper. She has worked in personnel, now known as human resources, before taking her current position in the payroll area.

At Thursday's event, all the School Related Employees of the Year were recognized in front of a packed room of family members, fellow employees, administrators and friends. Each was introduced by Hernando County Education Foundation president Gus Guadagnino and executive director Kathleen Reitz, superintendent Dr. Wayne Alexander, and 2006-2007 School Related Employee of the Year Kim Brownell.

The event was sponsored by the Education Foundation, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, Showcase/FIN Doug Brainard & Associates, Hernando Association of School Administrators and Affiliates, Hernando Instructional Television Staff, SDC Print Shop, Joni Industries, Academy of Teachers and Former School Related Employees of the Year.

Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at eduritchie@yahoo.com.