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MDE Schedules First Virtual Mississippi Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year Ceremony


For Immediate Release: July 6, 2020

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and the Office of Teaching and Leading set the first virtual ceremony for Mississippi Teacher of the Year and Mississippi Administrator of the Year to recognize top educators. The program, originally scheduled for the spring, was postponed as a result of closures because of COVID-19.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on Thursday, July 23, at 4 p.m. and will feature the four finalists in each category. Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, will announce the winners.

The Mississippi Administrator of the Year program honors an administrator who demonstrates superior ability to inspire teachers, to employ exemplary leadership practices and to participate as an active member of the community. The Mississippi Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary teachers in the state who inspire students, demonstrate leadership both inside and outside the classroom and serve as an active members of the community.

The finalists for Administrator of the Year are:

  • First Congressional District - Keri Jo Sapp, principal of Bramlett Elementary, Oxford School District
  • Second Congressional District - Brenda Singleton, principal of Inverness Elementary, Sunflower County Consolidated School District
  • Third Congressional District - Debra Houghton, principal of Mannsdale Upper Elementary, Madison County School District
  • Fourth Congressional District - Kiana Pendleton, principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts, Laurel School District

The finalists for Teacher of the Year are:

  • First Congressional District - Sarah Robinson, 9th grade Biology and Pre-AP Biology teacher at Oxford High School
  • Second Congressional District - Mina Darnell, 11th grade Honors Mathematics teacher at Clinton High School
  • Third Congressional District - April Lang, 9th-11th grade Mathematics teacher at Forest High School
  • Fourth Congressional District - Benjamin Austin, 9th and 10th grade Social Studies teacher at Petal High School

View the live stream on July 23 at


Media Contact: 

Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Director of Public Relations