Susan Evans has seen a lot of changes in her 27 years as a Preschool Teaching Assistant. Evans is the Hardy County 2020 Service Person of the Year.
A 1974 graduate of Moorefield High School, Evans went to work at the Philadelphia Teen Challenge, a faith-based, drug recovery center.
She married Don Evans and they have four children. The family moved back to West Virginia when Don was called to pastor at the Assembly of God Church in Wardensville. “We’ve been here for 35 years,” Evans said.
Evans was a stay-at-home-mom until 1993, when she was hired at East Hardy Early Middle School.
“It was the first year for Pre-K,” she said. “It was only for special needs children and we only had eight students. The children went half-day for five days.”
In 2002, the West Virginia Legislature required school systems to adopt Universal Pre-K by the 2012-13 school year, making it available to all 4-year-olds.
“We still had the eight special needs children, but we also had 12 regular students,” Evans said. “Some went Monday and Wednesday, all day and some went Tuesday and Thursday, and they rotated every other Friday. That first year, we served 40 students.”
In the beginning, Pre-K teachers had to come up with their own theme-based curriculum. Later, the Creative Curriculum was implemented.
“It is play-based,” Evans said. “People visit the classroom and say we’re just babysitting, but it’s way more than that. The state has developed Early Learning Standards and we use benchmarks to measure their progress.”