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Gautier Resident Named 2020 Mississippi Parent of the Year


For Immediate Release: June 10, 2020

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced today the 2020 Mississippi Parent of the Year is Lisa McCusker, a mother of two children in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District.

The school district nominated McCusker for her countless hours of working with school personnel on a multitude of projects. She provided opportunities that will make long-lasting impacts on the lives within the district and remained compassionate about getting the work done. McCusker is optimistic that with parental support, students will be successful.

McCusker stated that her most challenging and most rewarding project within a school has been serving within the Gautier High School Band Parent Association (booster club). She also played a huge role in the creation of an inaugural Swamp Classic, the first marching band competition hosted in the Gautier area.

“I congratulate Mrs. McCusker, who represents the hundreds of parents who volunteer in schools across the state, supporting teachers, leaders and students as they work toward success. I am grateful for their dedication and hard work in making Mississippi’s schools the best they can be,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

McCusker is known for her great service in the school district and in the community. She works to modernize the district’s parent recruiting and volunteer organization, has a hand in nearly every band function, and ensures the logistics of making sure students well-cared for and fed.

Research has repeatedly shown that parental involvement is a critical factor determining the academic success of students. As part of the annual Parent of the Year program, the MDE asks each district to select an outstanding parent who has made a significant impact on school improvement efforts in the school district.

The committee reviewed numerous applications submitted by school districts and selected a Parent of the Year from each of the four congressional districts. From those four district winners, the 2020 Parent of the Year is determined.


Parent of the Year Finalists

The Congressional District 1 finalist is Kate Otis Farabaugh, who was nominated by the Tupelo Public School District for her commitment to serving in leadership roles and advocacy efforts for stronger schools. She has three children, including one who currently attends school in the district.

The Congressional District 2 finalist is Mark Davis, Jr., who was nominated by the Jackson Public School District (JPS) for having true passion for the community and the well-being of all students. He has two children in JPS.

The Congressional District 3 finalist is Melissa Hester, who was nominated by the Lincoln County School District for her positive attitude and love for people. She has two children, including one currently in the district.


Media Contact: 

Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Director of Public Relations