Tunstill lands top staffer nod at Liberty
MADISON – Benita Tunstill has been honored as 2017 Staff Member of the Year at Liberty Middle School.
Tunstill serves as school nurse for Liberty students, but she extends her care and concern for students far beyond taking temperatures and advising rest. She often volunteers as sponsor of school organizations and groups.
In one example of her outreach, Tunstill has encouraged the Liberty Baseball Team with their food drives during the Thanksgiving season. To raise money, the boys completed chores and donated earnings. “Our players have donated more than $700 (for) meals,” Tunstill said in a previous interview.
Liberty baseball players also ‘adopted’ a family with three sons for Christmas. Players divided into three ‘teams’ to shop for the modest gifts on the boys’ wish lists.
In addition, Tunstill sponsors the “Junior Student 2 Student” group or JS2S at Liberty. Students in JS2S welcome transfer students to their new school and help departing students prepare for their next school. The mentoring group includes both military-connected and civilian students who establish and sustain this school-sponsored program.
Liberty JS2S coordinated and spearheaded a cash-donation initiative for the Christmas Giving Tree. This effort produced enough cash to give gifts to 13 students at Liberty.
Members of JS2S have visited residents at Floyd E. ‘Tut’ Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville each month. They play bingo with the veterans. Shelby Dean Miller, a JS2S member, organized a wish-list drive, and the group gathered everyday items that the veterans needed.
Another far-reaching project begin in July 2016 when Tunstill attended a roundtable session at the Military Child Education Coalition conference, where she met with educators from Meadows Elementary School at Fort Hood, Texas. This partnership between Liberty and the Texas school produced the L.A.M.P.S. (Liberty And Meadows Partnership for Students) project.
With L.A.M.P.S., Liberty JS2S members have mentored kindergarten students and helped to encourage a solider in service at Fort Hood, Texas, along with collaborating in a robotics competition via videoconferencing.
With Tunstill’s guidance, Liberty JS2S earned the 2016 LTG (Retired) H.G. ‘Pete’ Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award.