Dedicated team teaching special needs at W.O. Parmer

Published 2:19 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This week’s Greenville Advocate Hero of the Week is a team of four inspiring individuals dedicated to special needs children. W.O. Parmer Elementary special education teacher Allison Hall and her three dedicated paraprofessionals, Kim Foster, Kenderius Boggan and Renee Mullins, are recognized for their exceptional commitment to their students.

Allison Hall, with 19 years of teaching experience, emphasized the importance of laying a solid foundation for her students.

“If they get that foundation, I know they’re going to have more success down the road,” Hall said. 

Email newsletter signup

“I want them to learn academics as well, but I really want them to know the life skills. It’s finding that routine and knowing that whatever happens, they’re going to be okay. They know how to feed themselves. They know the basics.”

Renee Mullins, a paraprofessional with over 20 years of experience at W.O. Parmer expressed her motivation.

“You look for the little things. You may have a rough week and then one child finally gets that one thing that you’ve been working on, and it makes you feel good,” Mullins said. “That’s what makes you keep going back.” 

Still relatively early in his career, Kenderius Boggan, shared his passion for working with special education kids, aiming to be a strong male role model. 

“I feel like we can make a real impact on these kids and Mrs. Hall has been great to learn from. We make sure that everyone knows that our special education kids are just as capable of doing things as the general education kids,” Boggan said. 

Kim Foster, who has worked as a school nurse and paraprofessional since 2010, spoke about her desire to help those in need, particularly drawn to children with special needs. 

“Even the smallest things are mountains to us… just learning how to hold and use a cup,” Foster expressed. “We do everything within our ability to help these kids become all that they can be in life.” 

Together, the team leads a class of a dozen special needs children from kindergarten to second grade and with every child having different levels of need, it’s not always an easy task. Hall said, however, that one of the most challenging aspects is encouraging others to not place limits on their students. 

“The most difficult thing is getting people to understand that these kids don’t have to have their hand held all the time,” Hall said. “They can do things. They are so much smarter than people give them credit for but if you hold their hand all the time,they’re going to want you to hold their hand all the time.”

In 2020, the team began researching and applying for grants to provide a sensory room for special needs students, offering soothing lights, sounds, and objects to help students relax when frustrated or overstimulated.

The dedication and compassion exhibited by Allison Hall and her team of paraprofessionals exemplify their unwavering commitment to the special needs community in Greenville.