FAYETTEVILLE — Jennifer Shreve is a school psychology specialist who floats between schools in the Fayetteville School District. Her office is less glamorous than one would think, considering her title; her landing pad is in a room at the back of the library at Root Elementary School.
In its present state, it’s not much to be proud of. The metal piece the holds the files upright in her filing cabinet has been missing for years, so she uses three metal bookends to keep her files from slipping. A bookshelf without doors is covered with a curtain that the kids are always pulling down.
“My desk is truly from the ‘50s or ‘60s,” she said. Most of her supplies were cast off by other teachers. She doesn’t even have a good place to put her computer.
All of that led Shreve to enter the Preferred Workspace Makeover contest sponsored by Preferred Office Products and The City Wire. Teachers were asked to share why their space needed a makeover; The City Wire staff narrowed the choices down to five and the ultimate selection was made by Preferred Office owners Joe and Kevin Dickinson.
When her name was called as the winner during the 25th annual Teacher Expo at the Fayetteville Town Center Monday (Aug. 13), it was hard for Shreve to contain her emotion. She hugged everyone on stage before going to sit in her new red office chair.
“This is like a dream come true,” she said. “I’m serious. I can’t believe it. I’m just absolutely floored.”
Shreve started work with the district in 1994 and has been off for a year undergoing cancer treatments, so she’s excited to be going back to work in a place that will be much more modern. The prize package included a new desk and chair, filing cabinets, a bookshelf and office supplies donated by Sam’s Club.
“It’s going to be amazing,” she said.
Shreve was one of hundreds of district teachers who took a break from a professional development day to be honored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and to learn more about some of the businesses that are part of the chamber.
A wide variety of businesses were represented, including tutors, spas, banks, veterinarians and cleaning companies. Lunch and treats were provided by Eureka Pizza and Red Robin, among other vendors.
“It is a way for the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce investors to show support and appreciation for all that our Fayetteville educators do for our children and community,” said the chamber’s Joy Heuer.
Chamber president and CEO Steve Clark agreed, saying the event was about saying thank you to the teachers.
“We do know that what you’re doing is making a difference now and in the future,” he told the crowd.
Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said all four of his children were educated in Fayetteville schools, so he knows first-hand the good that local teachers do.
“The essence of education … is the relationships and interactions between teachers and their students, and that’s what makes this school district the best in Arkansas,” he said at the event.
Other speakers included Karen Boston, chairman of the chamber board of directors, and Fayetteville School school superintendent Vicki Thomas.
Teachers explored vendor booths, then were treated to door prizes ranging from gym and museum memberships to gift cards, party packs from Qdoba and Eureka Pizza, a printer, a massage, financial coaching sessions and more.