Our February 2021 award goes to Jackie Wakefield. Ms. Wakefield has been with the district for 24 years. She initially started as a substitute in the 1992 school year. She was hired in 1996 to be a preschool paraprofessional in the preschool program with JoAnn Clark. In the Spring of 2003, under the direction of Superintendent Devine and board chair Mr. Scott Ferguson, the district withdrew its association with Tri-District Services (consortium for all federal programs). At that time the district hired Bob Potter to be the Special Education Director along with his duties as elementary principal. Given the added workload, Jackie was hired to be his administrative assistant. In 2004 the district began looking at billing Medicaid for school-based services. Jackie’s responsibilities and hours were expanded over the next few years as program demands increased. Initially Medicaid billing was handled by a third party agency. In 2012-13, given the unsurety that regulations were completely followed, that service was not renewed when the contract ended. In addition, that fall our outside auditors indicated that Medicaid was in the hole. Since the 2013-14 school year Jackie has been our Medicaid billing specialist. Using a specialized software program we directly bill Medicaid and track the billing process to ensure that if we were ever to be audited we could have minimal to no recoupment.
Some people know Jackie, while others may not. She works hard to ensure that the documentation is within guidelines so that the compensation for these services are as clean as possible. Her work directly affects students as her work allows for additional variety of staff members to be hired to work directly with students who have behavioral developmental, mental health, and functional life skill deficits.
Department staff share the following list of attributes that they appreciate about her: “no personal drama brought into the workplace; patient; supportive, honest, hard working, funny, and non-judgmental.”
Thanks again Jackie for your contribution to the Sugar-Salem School District.