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MDE Announces 2020 State Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year Finalists

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2020

(JACKSON, MS) – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced this week the finalists for the 2020 Mississippi Administrator of the Year and the 2020 Mississippi Teacher of the Year.

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.

Likewise, the Mississippi Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary teachers in the state. The award recipient will be asked to 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.

The recipients will be announced March 27, 2020, beginning at 11 a.m., at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson.

 

2020 Mississippi Administrator of the Year Finalists

Keri District 1 Finalist:
Keri Jo Sapp, Principal
Bramlett Elementary, Oxford School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Mrs. Sapp believes “in the importance of educating the whole child; specifically, social-emotional learning, conflict resolution skills, and self-regulation skills.”
 
Brenda Congressional District 2 Finalist:
Brenda Singleton, Principal
Inverness Elementary, Sunflower County Consolidated School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Ms. Singleton believes “it is the power of collaboration and intentional planning of effective programs that inspires teachers to teach creatively and motivate students to engage deeply in learning.”
 
Debra Congressional District 3 Finalist:
Debra Rowe Houghton, Principal
Mannsdale Upper Elementary, Madison County School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Mrs. Houghton believes “realizing students’ full potential requires setting high expectations and providing positive reinforcements when students need support to succeed.”
 
Kiana District 4 Finalist:
Kiana Pendleton, Principal
Laurel Magnet School of the Arts, Laurel School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Dr. Pendleton believes that “teachers are the nucleus of a school, and great attention to detail from the leader should be applied to building their capacity in order to meet the diverse needs of ALL learners.”

 

2020 Mississippi Teacher of the Year Finalists

Sarah Congressional District 1 Finalist:
Sarah Hall Robinson, Teacher
(9th grade Biology and Pre-AP Biology)
Oxford High School, Oxford School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Mrs. Robinson believes that “access to high-quality education is the critical element to lifelong success for students from all backgrounds.”
 
Mina Congressional District 2 Finalist:
Mina Conlee Darnell, Teacher
(11th grade Honors Mathematics)
Clinton High School, Clinton Public School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Mrs. Darnell believes “to always strive to light the fire and fan the flames of education for students by encouraging students to ask questions.”
 
April Congressional District 3 Finalist:
April Lang, Teacher
(9th -11th grade Mathematics)
Forest High School, Forest Municipal School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: “Every single student, every single day.” Mrs. Lang believes that “students must know that they are valued, respected, and cared for all while being held to the highest of standards.”
 
Benjamin Congressional District 4 Finalist:
Benjamin Austin, Teacher
(9th – 10th grade Social Studies)
Petal High School, Petal School District

Personal Philosophy Snapshot: Mr. Austin believes that “all students have the right and ability to learn. This learning is both continuous and active; both student and teacher are challenged to become continuous learners.”

 

Media Contact: 

Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
601-359-3515

Jean Cook, APR
Director of Public Relations
601-359-3515