Each year, the Union County Child Protection Team recognizes an individual or individuals who represent children in Union County. This year, Paula McMahan was awarded the honor, 2020 Child Advocate of the Year.

McMahan is a Special Education teacher at Elk Point-Jefferson. She was presented the award at a Zoom meeting of the team.

Paula McMahan

Paula McMahan, 2020 Child Advocate of the Year

“This is really special,” a tearful McMahan said. “They say, you never know what impact you can make on someone’s life. You hope you get luckey enough, once in a while, that you’ve made a difference of that you’ve made someone smile at least.

“This is my passion,” she continued. “I’ve spent 21 years in education and I wouldn’t pick a different position… I want kids to feel safe. I want kids to know they are loved. I want kids to know they can learn, it just might take a little bit. It’s just so important.”

McMahan’s career highlights:

• Twenty-one years teaching

• Eight years in Elementary Special Education

• Eleven years in Middle School Special Education

• Three years on the South Dakota Education Association Board of Directors

• Three years on the National Education Association Board of Directors

• South Dakota Education Association Executive Committee

• Three years on the Professional Teacher Practices Standards Commission

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.