November 30, 2020

Who are the best and brightest in education? State releases list of top educators in Mississippi school districts

JACKSON  — What does it take to inspire, motivate and shape the future? Ask the eight finalists for this year’s Administrator of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards.

Celebrating the best in education across the state, the Mississippi Department of Education announced the finalists in a news release Wednesday.

Four finalists — one from each of Mississippi’s congressional districts — were named as for each award in a news release Wednesday.

A choir director, a sixth grade social studies teacher and two elementary school teachers are finalists in this year’s Teacher of the Year award in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Teacher of the Year program honors the best in classroom instruction. The award recipient will share expertise through various presentations, professional development, and activities for the improvement of education. The recipient also will receive a $5,000 stipend and will represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Finalist for this year’s Teacher of the Year Award are:

District 1: Hannah Gadd  

A sixth through 12th grade choir director and music appreciation teacher at Lafayette High School, Gadd said M.U.S.I.C. is an acronym she use in her classroom.

“M.U.S.I.C. can be used as a tool to help motivate, understand, and sculpt independent citizens in and out of the classroom by providing opportunities for collaborative growth while fostering a joy for learning about music and the world around them,” she said.

District 2: Monique Cocroft

An English/language arts and social studies teacher at
Moorhead Central School in the Sunflower County Consolidated School District, Cocroft said that she believes “all students are able to learn according to their own learning style.”

District 3: Krileshia Boyd

An English/language arts and social studies teacher at Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School in Meridian, Boyd said she believes in “teaching every student the grade level standard for that particular subject and differentiating instruction in smaller groups to provide that enrichment or intervention so that all students can be successful and show growth.”

District 4: Charlene Stephens

A sixth grade social studies teacher at Pass Christian Middle School, Stephens said she believes that “students learn best when they actively participate in their own learning.”

The Mississippi Administrator of the Year program honors an administrator who demonstrates superior ability to inspire teachers, employs exemplary leadership practices and participates as an active member of the community. The recipient will receive a $5,000 stipend and will share expertise through various presentations, professional development, and activities for the improvement of education in the state.

Finalists for the Administrator of the Year award are:

  • District 1: Amy Tate Barnett, principal of Pierce Street Elementary in the Tupelo Public School District,
  • District 2: Valarie Davis, principal of Rosa Fort High School in the Tunica County School District,
  • District 3: Lee Pambianchi, principal of Northshore Elementary in the Rankin County School District,
  • District 4: Mandy Lacy, principal of DeLisle Elementary School in the Pass Christian School District.
  • The recipients will be announced March 29, 2019 beginning at 11 a.m., Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson.