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MDE announces 2022 Parent of the Year


For Immediate Release: March 23, 2022

Tara Denevan

Tara Denevan, 2022 Mississippi Parent of the Year

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced today the 2022 Mississippi Parent of the Year is Tara Denevan, a mother of two students in the Oxford School District.

Denevan was nominated by the school district and is described as an amazing overcomer, innovator and a strong supporter of education for all students and teachers.  Denevan’s enthusiasm, love and passion for helping others is a gift she gives freely. She always finds time to volunteer for the school district and the community. In the Oxford community, Denevan has connected with many local businesses to help with projects that benefits both the students and teachers.

Denevan believes it is important to be involved in your children’s education because students with involved parents tend to make better grades, exemplify better behavior in the classroom, and score higher on tests. “Being so involved with the district and the community has shown my children the true meaning of ‘giving back’ and has taught them compassion and awareness of others,” said Denevan, who is also involved with her children’s classmates.  Denevan shows all children they are loved, celebrated and supported, which is vital to a positive learning experience. 

Denevan’s participation in various service-oriented activities and organizations have led to student success. Serving as fundraising chair in 2017-2018, she led a team of parents with ticket sales of $55,000. A portion of the proceeds were used to purchase STEM bins for all classrooms for Bramlett Elementary.

With a giving heart, she has served as the Lovepack Chair and Food Drive Chair for several schools in the district. She was responsible for collecting food for the food pantry, organizing, and delivering food items to those in need. Among many of her positions, she has served as:  PTO Vice-President, Kindness Week Coordinator, Fundraising Chair, Fun Friday Coordinator, PTO Board member and currently, PTO President. One of her dearest projects, as of today, is serving as Charger Christmas Kids Founder. This project provides Christmas gifts to needy students in the school district. 

Research has repeatedly shown that parental involvement is a critical factor in determining the academic success of students. As part of the annual Parent of the Year program, 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 finalist from each of the four congressional districts. From those four district winners, the 2022 Parent of the Year is determined.

Other Parent of the Year finalists for 2022 are as follows:

  • Congressional District 2 finalist is Shequite Johnson, who was nominated by the Sunflower County School District for strong leadership, dependability, love and making a difference in the lives of all.  She has four children, including two currently in the district.
  • Congressional District 3 finalist is Juliana Adams, who was nominated by Brookhaven School District for having a servant’s heart, giving her love to all, and being a true leader for the district and community. She has three children currently in the district.
  • Congressional District 4 finalist is Dawn Albert, who was nominated by the Pass Christian School District for her caring and nurturing personality, dependability and hard work. She has six children, including three currently in the district.

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Media Contact:

Jean Cook, APR
Director of Communication

Shanderia Minor
Public Information Officer