Thursday, March 11, 2010
County school district honors best teachers
By SUE WATSON
Each school in the Marshall County School District recently recognized one of its top teachers. One teacher, Danielle Hall, was chosen from the eight to go on to state competition for the state teacher of the year.
The eight teachers were nominated by their peers, then the final selection at each school was made by the principal, said Jerry Moore, deputy superintendent.
Moore said the district is actively recruiting most of its new teachers from out of state to help supply teachers to the school district. Those graduating with degrees in state are going to other states to work for higher pay in many cases, he said.
Many of those selected for teacher of the year were from out of state with a couple of exceptions. Milony Jenkins is from Holly Springs and Jeffrey Williams, who taught at the Holly Springs School District, is from Memphis, Tenn.
Pam Boren is from Potts Camp, Danielle Hall and Courtney Dauwalter are from Minnesota, Wanda Gibbs is from Collierville, Tenn., and Jane Farris taught in other states before moving to Holly Springs about 15 years ago.
Some of the out of state teachers agreed to work in a rural Mississippi school, considered as a critical needs area, so they can get part of their college loans paid by the federal government.
Teacher retention is very good in the school district, Moore said. Next fall the situation may be more dire as about 10 percent of the district’s teachers will be eligible for retirement with from 30 to 40 years experience, Moore said.
In honoring this year’s top teachers, he said his goal was to make sure they know they are appreciated, to honor them and give them a gift of a meal and a plaque.
“I know it is difficult with all the requirements,” he said. “We have less money and more accountability. I appreciate what you do for the kids. This is a first for the county.”
Randolph praised all the good teachers working for the Marshall County Schools while also thanking the selected few.
“These individuals were chosen because they have exhibited skills in their individual classrooms,” he said.
Each teacher was then recognized for special skills and efforts by an administrator.
H.W. Byers principal Sonya Cross highlighted Hall’s efforts which include a heavy teaching load - algebra I, trigonometry, transition to algebra, precalculus - as well as after-school tutoring and coaching junior high girls basketball.
“She goes above and beyond and is very deserving of this honor,” Cross said.
To learn more about Hall and how she turned up in Mississippi and Marshall County, visit www.olemiss.edu/programs/mtc. Click on awards on the right side of the page.
Randolph recognized Williams and said, “Holly Springs School District’s loss is our gain.” Williams teaches fifth and sixth grade math at Byhalia Middle School and coaches middle school boys basketball.
Galena principal Charlie Hall spoke for his star teacher, Jane Farris, a second grade teacher for three years at the school. He praised Farris for “time on-task.”
“She teaches when she meets her kids in the hall, is organized and structured and does in-depth teaching and learning. This lady does it all,” he said.
Cross introduced Wanda Gibbs, third grade elementary teacher at Byhalia.
“Every once in a while you get a retired teacher from Shelby County who was also teacher of the year there,” she said. “She’s a bell-to-bell teacher and has moved kids forward from minimal to efficient.”
Courtney Dauwalter was introduced by Moore, who called her mobile.
“She’s everywhere,” he said. “She runs, runs, runs. She was a cross country skier at the University of Denver and teaches biology and track and field and cross country.”
Also teaching chemistry, Moore said he is proud of his son’s “C” in chemistry because he knows “Dauwalter’s course is rigorous. The kids at Potts Camp absolutely love her. She connects with them in and out of the classroom. I greatly appreciate what you do.”
Pat Kennedy, principal at Mary Reid, praised third grade teacher Pam Boren.
“She was very excited to move up with her second grade and start them where they left off,” Kennedy said. “She could have asked for another class. I’m excited about our MCT scores this year.”
Bill Cross, assistant principal at H.W. Byers K-4, introduced Shoanee Garrison, praising her for the test scores her students bring in which are the highest in the fourth grade.
Don Jackson, principal at Byhalia High, honored Milony Jenkins, English III and theater and drama instructor.
“She works all day and is the last one to leave before I do,” he said. “Kids love her. She’s always on-point.”
Students are excited about the contagious enthusiasm she brings to the classroom, he said.
“The kids love her and I do, too. Please come by and visit the best school in Marshall County,” Jackson said.
Randolph praised his principals, as well, for creating a good atmosphere for teachers and for supporting them.
“They supervise every day and we have got to have a good atmosphere for these successful teachers,” he said
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