Permian celebrates two employees of the year

Chelsea Pinkerton was recognized as the Counselor of the Year at Permian High School Tuesday. On the right is ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri and in back is top administration from the district. More deliveries are coming on Friday. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

Every year, Ector County ISD recognizes its employees of the year and Tuesday was the day for a group of staff members.

More is coming on Friday.

Two at Permian High School got the award — counselor Chelsea Pinkerton was named Counselor of the Year and Delesa Styles was announced as Secondary Principal of the Year.

The employees of the year also get a $500 check from the Education Foundation and a visit from top administration.

Both were shocked to be selected. Tears sprang to Styles’ eyes.

This is Styles’ fourth year as principal at Permian. She credits her staff of 300 for her success saying she could not do this without them.

“Honestly, it’s recognizing my staff because I couldn’t do this job without them. It just feels like an affirmation for all the hard work that they do every day,” Styles said.

She added that they knew the district was going to recognize Pinkerton, so they had been trying to arrange her surprise, including getting her husband on campus.

“He lives and works in Midland and so we orchestrated for him to be here today. There was just a lot of planning, making sure things were in order for her so yes, I was definitely surprised,” Styles said.

She added that this year has been really special because she’s had the senior class since their freshman year.

“Just being able to build those relationships with students during the pandemic. That freshman class, if you’ll remember, was the class that was primarily home for the whole school year, so we weathered a lot together. And we have the gift of time. You can really build some special relationships with kids,” Styles said.

The graduating class will have about 825 students. “We’re working every day to make sure we help kids cross the finish line. It’s one of our bigger graduating classes. We dipped a little bit in enrollment after the pandemic unfortunately. But we see a resurgence and we’re excited about that. We feel like we’re building a muscle with kids that are interested in making sure they complete the course and walk at graduation,” Styles said.

She added that the award makes her want to work harder.

“We work tirelessly every single day, but it does inspire me to look for those folks in the trenches that need to be recognized for their hard work,” Styles said.

“It just gives you a B12 shot in the right direction to finish the school year and go ahead and be planning for the next year. I’m super excited already about the future class of 2025,” she added.

Chief of Schools Keeley Boyer hugs Delesa Styles after she was announced as Principal of the Year Tuesday at Permian High School. On the right is Superintendent Scott Muri. Each Employee of the Year received a $500 check from the Education Foundation. More deliveries are to come Friday. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

She stressed that she’s appreciative of the honor, but prefers to work behind the scenes.

“So to be recognized is deeply appreciated, but again, I just want to really emphasize that I couldn’t do what I do without my team,” Styles said.

Pinkerton has been with ECISD for eight years with five years at the middle school level.

Pinkerton said she works very hard, but didn’t think she would be the one announced for Counselor of the Year.

“I was completely surprised,” Pinkerton said.

She said she didn’t think she would be recognized and didn’t expect it.

“I’m overjoyed. I feel very well appreciated,” she said.

“Even if I wasn’t recognized, I would still do everything I can for my kids. … I’m here every day, day in and day out and I’m going to still do the same. But I’m very appreciative and excited,” Pinkerton said.

Superintendent Scott Muri said the counselors are chosen by the counselors and principals by principals, for example, for the awards.

“It’s probably more exciting because your peers have selected you to be, in this case, the counselor and the principal of the year,” Muri said.

Muri said the whole system has made progress. Last week, teachers of the year were recognized at the elementary and secondary level, and separately, Teacher Incentive Allotments were given to 353 teachers.

“We continue to see progress at all of our schools in ECISD,” Muri said.

He added that this occasion is like being a high school principal at graduation putting diplomas in the hands of kids.

“Whenever you can celebrate the organization, that never gets old,” Muri said.