Annually, Pearl Public School District participates in the Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Mississippi Teacher Center within the Mississippi Department of Education. This program honors the outstanding accomplishments of public school teachers across the state. The Pearl Public School District Board of Trustees recently recognized the 2020-2021 Teachers of the Year from each of the five schools in the district.
The Pearl Lower Elementary Teacher of the Year is Eva Mathis.
Mrs. Mathis, a kindergarten teacher at PLE, is in her 16th year as an educator with all but one year spent serving students in our district since she joined PPSD in 2006. She has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She loves helping lay the foundation for the rest of her students’ school careers and loves that she is helping shape how her students feel about themselves and how they treat others.
Mrs. Canda Jackson, PLE Principal, had this to say about Mrs. Mathis: “Mrs. Mathis is truly a rare, one-of-a-kind treasure in education. She has a special gift for all students especially students with special needs. She is compassionate about each student’s social, emotional, and academic well-being. She intentionally meets students where they are physically, mentally and academically. I am thankful that she is on our team at Pearl Lower Elementary.“
The Northside Elementary Teacher of the Year is Grace White.
Mrs. White is a second-grade teacher at Northside Elementary. She began working in PPSD in 2013 as a beginning teacher. Mrs. White has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Elementary Education and says that being a teacher is such a high honor. Getting to see her students achieve their goals while supporting them in their learning is what she strives to give them during the short amount of time they are with her in the classroom. Mrs. White said, “I truly hope I touch their lives as much as they touch mine!”
When asked to describe Mrs. White, Dr. Nikki Graham, PNE Principal, said, “Her attitude is always positive, her smile is contagious, her expectations leave no room for excuses, and her love for teaching is evident in all she does. Flexibility and Mrs. White go hand in hand as she continuously adjusts to meet the needs of her students. Mrs. White’s genuine love for her students reaches beyond academics. She works to ensure her students grow academically and socially. Mrs. White strives to instill qualities in her students that exemplify upstanding productive citizens. Mrs. White is changing the lives of students one day at a time.”
The Pearl Upper Elementary Teacher of the Year is Heather Haycraft.
Mrs. Haycraft, a fifth-grade teacher at PUE, began working in PPSD in 2012. She is currently in her 12th year of teaching, is a National Board Certified Teacher, and has a Bachelor's in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Mrs. Haycraft feels that having a classroom with consistency, high expectations, and a safe environment to make mistakes will provide students an avenue for success. Seeing students display that confidence and master skills is a joy to see.
Mr. Gavin Gill, Principal at Pearl Upper, describes Mrs. Haycraft as “having been a dedicated math and science teacher for the past eleven years . . . [whose students have] consistently earned high marks in both subject areas. There is not a job she is not willing to accept, and she always goes above and beyond for her students. She is a team player and works well with her fellow teachers. Pearl Upper Elementary is fortunate to have an outstanding teacher like Mrs. Haycraft.”
The Pearl Junior High School Teacher of the Year is Amber Kent.
Mrs. Kent joined PPSD in 2016 bringing with her 8 years of experience. A National Board Certified Teacher with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics Education and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, Mrs. Kent is in her 13th year as an educator. Mrs. Kent loves having the opportunity to inspire students and prepare them for the paths of their areas of interest so that they can be successful in whatever endeavors they choose.
When asked about Mrs. Kent, PJHS Principal Dr. Jessica Broome said, “Mrs. Kent works collaboratively with her colleagues to collect, interpret, and utilize data in an effort to inform decisions that positively impact student performance in her classroom and throughout our school. Her classes are engaging, and her lessons often include a cross-curricular theme in order to help students better relate to the subject matter and its connection to the world around them. Mrs. Kent seeks out opportunities to grow personally and professionally, striving daily to improve herself as a teacher and to strengthen her relationships with students by taking an active role in their personal and academic endeavors. She can regularly be found in the stands for athletic and academic events and in the crowd cheering her students on for community-based and philanthropic activities.”
The Pearl High School Teacher of the Year is Angela Mangum.
Mrs. Mangum, a National Board Certified Teacher, joined PPSD eight years ago in 2013. Currently in her 22nd year of teaching, she has a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Mrs. Mangum says what she loves so much about teaching is helping and showing students that they can learn science no matter how difficult it may seem. She enjoys interacting with and showing her students that science can be fun and exciting.
Mr. Chris Chism, PHS Principal, says “Let me begin saying Mrs. Mangum is simply amazing. She is a wonderful employee and an absolutely phenomenal chemistry teacher. I have been in many chemistry classrooms in my time as both a student and as a principal. Without a doubt, hers is the best I have ever seen. There are very few times that I can simply do a 10 or 15 minute observation. Her teaching style and positive demeanor ropes me in every time – just like it does her students. I couldn’t be happier about this selection for PHS. It is well-deserved.”
From these five teachers, the 2020-2021 Pearl Public School District Teacher of the Year will be selected. A panel consisting of educators and lay people from outside the district will evaluate application packets from these five teachers and conduct personal interviews. One teacher will be recommended to represent the district in the state-level program.