Following a reception, Assistant Superintendent Joe Chenella, a 46 year employee of Bridge City Independent School District was honored as the Penny Record ‘2008 Person of the Year.’

Several Citizens and former students in the audience told anecdotes about their relationship with Chenella when he was Principal.

Roy Dunn, publisher, presented him with a plaque that read, “Person of the Year, Joe Chenella. Forty-six years of dedication and service to the school district and to education in his community. ‘A pillar among his peers.’ The Record Newspapers 2008.”

Dunn commented on the loyalty Chenella has shown and displayed for the district and students. He recognized the many accomplishments made while Chenella served in administration for 41 years.

Chenella’s career with the Bridge City school district began in 1962. He has seen the tradition and change in the push and pull of a growing community and school district, Chenella would help steer BCISD in crucial periods of growth and history.

“Joe Chenella is an absolute irreplaceable asset to our school district. His love, commitment and passion is seen here everyday,” said Superintendent Dr, Jamey Harrison. “He has become a dear friend.”

Gina Mannino credits Chenella as a mentor in her pursuit of a career in education. She became principal of Simms Elementary in 2003 and BCHS in 2006.

Chenella has out-lasted the tenure of six superintendents. Dr. E.E. Simms was superintendent when Chenella became an Algebra II and Geometry teacher at BCHS in 1962. Glen Pearson was superintendent 23 years, replacing Simms in 1967 and serving until 1990. Dr. Harold Ramm, 1990-1997, Bill Ortego 1997-1998, Sam Lucia, 1998-2004, and Dr. Darrell Myers, 2005-2007. Dr. Jamey Harrison became BCISD superintendent in the fall of the 2007 school year.

Chenella has served assistant principle and principal of the high school. In 1986 he became assistant superintendent and has served three times as Interim Superintendent as the school board searched for a full-time superintendent. During his employment with BCISD all of the campuses were constructed with the exception of Hatton Elementary.

“It has been a great honor to be part of the development and growth of the educational system in Bridge City over the past 46 years,” Chenella said, “It has been a rewarding experience to be part of the lives of so many students and the opportunity to join with the community to provide the educational facilities we enjoy today.”