McCoy takes on new role

McCoy takes on new role
January 01
00:00 2015
(pictured above:   Konnoak students line up to say goodbye to Denise McCoy.)
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Friday, Dec. 19 was Denise McCoy’s last official day with her school family at Konnoak Elementary School. On Monday, Dec. 22 she joined a new school family as an area supervisor for the school system’s Transportation Department.

McCoy has been Konnoak’s parent involvement coordinator for 16 years. She is going to miss being at the school every day, she said. “Working here is a big family.”

That family includes not only the other people on staff but also parents and all the people who work with the churches, businesses and other organizations that support Konnoak, she said.
And most certainly those who work with McCoy are going to miss her.

“Ms. McCoy is an outspoken defender of these kids,” said kindergarten teacher Brian Prout. “She is really fantastic.”

“Ms. McCoy was one of the first people who welcomed me to Konnoak,” said Principal Shelia Burnette. “She is well-known in the community because she gets out into the community with our partners. Ms. McCoy has worked ‘in service of’ children, families and staff. Her job description encompasses so much because she is willing to work and is dedicated to Konnoak.”

In April 2012, McCoy was named the school system’s Classified Employee of the Year. She was already an active supporter of classified employees, and, as Classified Employee of the Year, she expanded that role.
As an area supervisor, she will be working closely with bus drivers and is looking forward to being a strong advocate for them.

“Everything I have done, I have always wanted to make a difference,” McCoy said. “A lot of people just want to be listened to. I want my drivers to know how much I appreciate the job they do each and every day … I am looking forward to creating a family team atmosphere.”

McCoy grew up in Troutman, where her father was the police chief. As an officer with the Statesville Police Department, she became the first woman and first African-American to be made a detective.

After moving to Winston-Salem, she worked with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department for a time. She decided to go to education because she thought it would be a good way to help young people. She started in the school system in 1997 at Lewisville Elementary.

Between those two careers, she is three years away from 30 years of service.

Although McCoy is going to miss being at Konnoak, the time was right to make a change, she said.
McCoy brings many strengths to her new job, said W.G. “Dub” Potts, the school system’s interim transportation director. She brings enthusiasm, energy and fresh eyes. She brings a good understanding of how the school system works and already has strong relationships with many classified employees and with administrators throughout the school system. “That’s going to be a tremendous advantage,” Potts said.
In the afternoons, McCoy oversees the process of students getting on buses. McCoy thanked Burnette for helping her to develop her administrative skills by letting her take on additional responsibilities during the two periods that Konnoak was without an assistant principal.

One of McCoy’s strengths, said Myra Worrell, the media coordinator at Konnoak, is people find her easy to talk to. “She has a way of making people comfortable,” Worrell said.

Denise McCoy poses with parent Crystal Murphy (left) and former coworker Myra Worrell.

Denise McCoy poses with parent Crystal Murphy (left) and former coworker Myra Worrell.

“Parents love her,” said Crystal Murphy, the school’s testing coordinator. “They absolutely love her. Kids love her. She is the person they want to see.”

Konnoak Elementary is near Philo-Hill Magnet Academy, and, in recent months, McCoy has been working with Javier Vega, the parent involvement coordinator at Philo-Hill, and with both school’s principals — Burnette and Kenyatta Bennett at Philo-Hill — to establish a parent involvement bus that will go out into the community to provide support programs for families.

“That was a dream we had,” she said. “It’s coming alive.”

She plans to continue working with that and to continue to be active in Konnoak programs.
Burnette turned her last week into a celebration of McCoy.

On Monday, people were invited make a point of telling McCoy what she has meant to them. On Sweet Treat Tuesday, they brought in candy. Many people knew that Snickers bars are her favorite. On Wednesday, people were invited to ask themselves, “What are we going to do without Ms. McCoy?” “Thank You Thursday” was a day to give her cards and notes. McCoy is a Dallas Cowboys fan and, on Friday people were invited to bring in Cowboys items or something else to serve as a reminder of her “All-Star Family” at Konnoak.

McCoy said that she has been touched by many of the things that people have said to her in recent days. Some of those nice things, she said, have even come from “parents who have cussed me out when I was standing on their doorstep.”

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