Rutherford County Awards Three Employees $500 Scholarship for Continuing Education
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Rutherford County, TN—Rutherford County Government recently awarded three employees with a $500 scholarship to continue their education.

“Rutherford County wants its employees to be engaged and prepared with the tools essential to completing jobs effectively, efficiently, and professionally,” said Sonya Stephenson, HR Director. “We continue to look for ways to enhance employees’ abilities and skills and provide them additional training to ensure their success.” Since Fall 2014, the County has offered the opportunity to apply for the scholarships to offset employees’ continuing education costs. Scholarships are awarded twice a year, in the spring and fall.

Sarah Blair, McKinzy Paturno, and Les Pearson were selected as recipients for Fall 2020. Each will receive $500 toward their education.

Blair has been with Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office since October 2017 and serves as a Patrol Officer. Currently, she’s a K-9 officer and wants to learn how to train other K-9 handlers and their dogs by becoming a Certified K-9 Fitness Trainer. She plans to attend the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville via an online curriculum, an in-person workshop, and three case studies. Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh stated, “Deputy Blair trained her personal dog before becoming a police officer at Middle Tennessee State University…I highly recommend her to receive the scholarship that will benefit the K-9s and the Sheriff’s Office.”

Paturno has worked for the Probation Department since April 2016. She began as Admin Support but was quickly promoted to Probation Assistant. McKinzy says her experience in her current role has inspired her to pursue a degree in social work. To achieve her goal, she will be attending Motlow State Community College in Smyrna. During her time with the Probation Department, McKinzy and coworker Kelly Lane, developed an outreach program called “Olive Branch” to assist clients in their office with food and other essential items. Director Alissa Phillips expressed, “McKinzy is always eager to learn and willing to step up to become educated in different positions…and has continued to prove herself to be a valuable asset to our team.”

Pearson also joined the Probation Department in April 2016 as a Treatment Case Manager. Director Phillips recommended Pearson for the scholarship because he continues to seek out professional development opportunities to assist him with his position. Les assists clients of Probation with programs such as Batterers Intervention, Anger Management, Moral Reconation Therapy, Life Coaching, and “Prime for Life” DUI classes. Pearson plans to add “Relationship Coaching” to his certification as a BCC Life Coach through the Institute of Life Coaching. This certification will provide Pearson with an additional layer of training to help him provide counseling and guidance to his clients as a mental health professional.

“Rutherford County has top-notch employees and these three are no exception,” said Mayor Bill Ketron. “I am proud of these individuals and wish them well in their quest for further professional development!”

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