By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
Her years of work and support certainly weren’t thankless, but she got a big thank you this week.
Linda Townsend, a clerk at Mount Tabor Elementary School, was awarded as the New Albany-Floyd County Schools Support Employee of the Year on Thursday. Townsend has spent 25 years in the district as a substitute teacher, food services worker and most recently, Mt. Tabor’s clerk.
Townsend said she was surprised to win, especially with so many other staff members who were nominated.
“There’s so many deserving people there that I was really surprised,” Townsend said. “I was really honored. With all those people there, everyone across the corporation does a fantastic job. To be singled out was really an honor.”
Tony Duffy, principal at the school, said Townsend serves as the face of Mt. Tabor Elementary in a lot of cases, and he said he’s glad she does.
“Sometimes the office is a hectic place, but with Linda, you’d never be able to tell and she always has a smile on her face,” Duffy said. “She’s a great impression for people who walk into the office. You want them to leave with a good impression of the school, and when they see her, they do.”
Townsend survived breast cancer six years ago, but said she’s in a second battle for her life against ovarian cancer. She said her treatments finished up in August and she’s currently in a maintenance phase with the disease.
She said she’s sure things will go well, and Duffy said her attitude and work ethic keep pushing her through difficult times.
“She’s an inspiration to everyone here at Mt. Tabor,” Duffy said. “She’s gone through two bouts of cancer and never missed work through the treatments. She always did that with poise and grace and it was something unbelievable to see here.”
But she said she wouldn’t have been able to do it without her friends.
Carol Atz, human resources director, said though Townsend’s answers to application questions for the award and letters of recommendation stood out, her personality really shines with people.
“I think it’s because she’s so caring,” Atz said. “It’s a genuine caring about adults and children.”
Townsend said though she won the award, she still feels like there are lots of wonderful employees in the district who also deserve recognition.
“I feel like everybody here deserves it in the corporation,” Townsend said. “We support each other, that’s what makes this job so good. If you don’t know how to do something, there’s always someone there to help you out and vice versa, that’s what we do for each other.”