Story and photo obtained from The Sea Coast Echo. View the full story here.
By Echo Staff
Jan 28, 2014, 13:07
Hancock County School District has announced the teachers of the year for each of the schools and the district.
Superintendent of Education, Alan Dedeaux commented, “We are very blessed with wonderful teachers in Hancock County School District and this year’s choices are a great representation of our team. We are proud of them all.”
Annie Jones has been named Hancock County School District Teacher of the Year and also Teacher of the Year for Hancock Middle School.
Ms. Jones currently teaches 7th grade math. She graduated from Sumner High School in 1987 and from the University of Washington in 1991 with a degree in psychology.
She worked as a mental health professional for several years and then stayed home with her children for a short time before returning to school. She graduated from William Carey with a master’s in teaching.
Annie shared, “My father has always stressed the importance of a good education in life. In fact, two of my three siblings are also teachers. My middle brother is a seventh grade math and science teacher in Alta Loma, California. My sister is a special education reading teacher in Yelm, Washington, and I also have an older brother who is an engineer.
“My three children are my daughter Shelby who is 19 and currently attending the University of Southern Mississippi, my son Jake who is 15 and a sophomore at Hancock High School, and my step-daughter Bailey who is 14 and a freshman at Long Beach High School.
“I have tried to continually express the importance of education and the benefits of hard work to all of my children just as my father did for me.” As a result of Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Jones and her children lost their home and moved back to Washington State.
She began a job as a science and math teacher at a junior high school and volunteered to be part of a new program through America’s Choice which resulted in significant changes in how she now teaches her classes. She has always had high expectations and worked hard but the training helped her become a facilitator as well as a teacher.
Ms. Jones always starts the year by asking each student to speak in front of the class and explain a piece of an assignment. Initially, students struggle with this activity, but as time goes on they begin to feel comfortable with the discussions and give their opinions more freely.
The class learns how important discussion and a willingness to answer questions are to learning, and how it is okay to be incorrect, as long as they are trying. They learn that incorrect answers or ideas sometimes lead in the right direction, and that being wrong is a natural part of learning.
Students look for processes and reasons, and learn that although correct answers are important, arguments and critiques lead to deeper knowledge.
Ms. Jones’ goal in her classroom is to facilitate an open, sometimes heated discussion about math strategies and answers. She is currently the 7th grade PRIDE sponsor.
The Pride Club recognizes students who are working every day to do their best. These students are recognized with a t-shirt that they are allowed to wear each Monday, and they participate in a prize drawing each Friday.
The Pride Club also sponsors fun activities throughout the year for hard working students.
When asked what she loved most about teaching, Ms. Jones replied, “One of the aspects of teaching I love most is meeting all the new people. Every year I meet one hundred fifty new people. It is exciting!
“While I am teaching them, I feel like I am a part of their family. I get to hear all of the exciting new things they are doing. They keep me in touch with the latest trends and technology.
“Each year I make special connections with my students, and I help them prepare for the next stages in their life and I am proud to be a positive influence. Friends and relatives have asked me if I get bored teaching the same thing all the time — period after period, day after day, year after year. If that was all I did, then I guess I would!”
Allison Marks has been named Teacher of the Year for Hancock High School. Allison is a graduate of Lake Worth Christian High School. She earned Summa Cum Laude honors in the psychology bachelor’s program from The University of Southern Mississippi, and then earned a master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans.
Her husband is in the military and they have two children. Brendon who is eleven is active in sports and gaming. Destiny who is seventeen is active in church, sports, and school base clubs.
Ms. Marks shared, “None of my degrees where in the area of education. Teaching was not my plan. I wanted to study adolescent behavior and counsel children in crisis. However, the military made some changes in my plans, which meant I needed to find a job. I ended up teaching math and co-teaching in inclusion classes. It was not long before I realized I was right where I needed to be.
“I was able to study the behavior of students, to help students during a crisis, and to teach students who needed extra assistance in learning. There is no other profession as rewarding as teaching.
“The past two years I have battled an aggressive breast cancer with many complications requiring me to be out on sick leave. As much as I missed my students, they missed me. I have an antique trunk full of cards sent by students and co-workers.
“When I am well and at school, my district encourages teachers to use their creativity to engage students in the school environment. With all the support I get, why wouldn’t I love teaching?”
Ms. Marks teaches different subjects every year. She is currently teaching learning strategies for students in grades 9-12. She strives to always give her students her best and loves watching her students learn. While teaching at the middle school, she helped launch the positive behavior program (P.R.I.D.E) for students who show academic effort and good behavior.
At the high school, she helps with the activities committee under the umbrella Renaissance program. She also started a little reward program for students while she attends to morning duty; she gives candy to hundreds of students who pass by her duty station on random days and has some type of funny saying to go along with the candy.
For example: “Be a ‘Smartie.’ Don’t be tardy.” It is a way to say “I care you are here today,” and the response from the students is well worth the effort.
On being named HHS Teacher of the Year she shared, “I honestly do not know why I was selected as HHS Teacher of the Year. I am the teacher I would want to have if I were a student, the kind of teacher I want my kids to have, and a teacher that truly loves and cares for her students. That is it–nothing fancy; just compassion and love.”
Andy Perniciaro has been named Teacher of the Year for Hancock County Career Technical Center.
He is a graduate of Bay Senior High School in Bay St. Louis, MS and earned a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi in Athletic Administration and Coaching and Secondary Science Education. Coach Perniciaro completed his National Board Certification in Career Technical Education in December 2012.
He is married to Tonya Perniciaro and has two children, Lauren, a 2010 HHS graduate and Logan, who will graduate from HHS this year.
He shared, “My influence to teach came from ambition to coach. Now I understand that coaching and teaching are one in the same, and they are just conducted in different places.”
When asked what he loved most about teaching he answered, “The thing I love most about teaching is when a student I am teaching has what I call an “AHA” moment. That is a moment of understanding a concept or objective I am teaching.”
Andy teaches Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). His approach to teaching is discovering how a student learns the best and then implementing that learning style while teaching. It makes such a difference.
Andy is an assistant football coach and head middle school softball coach and also works the clock and scorebooks for basketball games. He is a member of the Mississippi Association of Coaches.
The one question he always gets is “Why have you spent your entire 27 years of teaching in the Hancock County School District?” He always replies, “Because I really enjoy the students, teachers, and administrators I work with. There is no better.”
Sandra Parker has been named Teacher of the Year for East Hancock Elementary.
She is married to Gomez Parker and has two children, Zachary Portrey and Katie Portrey. Zachary is attending PRCC and Katie is a junior in high school. Mrs. Parker appreciates her amazing parents, Wyatt and Laquita Broadus, who live in Stone County.
Sandra graduated from high school with honors from Stone High School in Wiggins, MS and then attended MGCCC for two years, originally to pursue an accounting degree. She then moved to Mobile, AL and went to work as a teller and customer service representative in a bank for several years.
Mrs. Parker’s introduction to education was as a first grade assistant teacher at Perkinston Elementary School. There, she was given the opportunity to work with great teachers and soon found that she really wanted to pursue a degree in teaching.
She returned to earn a B.S. in Elementary Education from William Carey in 2005, enabling her to teach all subjects in grades K – 8 and teach remedial reading in grades K – 12.
Because being a mom is really important to her, she loved having the same work schedule as her two children.
Ms. Parker shared, “There are many things that I love about teaching. At the very top of the list would be the love that the students show their teacher.
“I have found that many of my students really feel like my own children for the time that they are in my class. I care about their academics but care more about them as people. What other profession allows someone to have so much influence on children? I love being able to make a child smile when I know he or she is having difficulty at school or home. Also, students make me smile when I am having a bad day. It is a win, win situation.”
Sandra has been teaching third grade the entire time that she has been a certified teacher. This makes is her ninth year, and she still loves this grade level.
Mrs. Parker explained, “At work, I have an amazing grade level team. They are each wonderful friends and teachers. We each plan a subject but teach all subjects. So, I have the same students all day and teach them all subjects. I also teach the inclusion class, which is made up with students with special education needs.
“These students are truly a blessing to me, and to watch them achieve beyond their own personal goals is very fulfilling.” On being selected Teacher of the Year for her school she shared, “This is a very humbling experience for me, as I work with many outstanding teachers. Their faith in me is heartwarming to say the least.”
Crystal Ball has been named Teacher of the Year for Hancock North Central. She resides in Kiln with her husband, son, and daughter. She has a step-daughter who lives in Shreveport, LA but frequently visits. She attends church at Bayou Talla Fellowship and serves through teaching children’s church. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, reading, and shopping.
Crystal began her education at Hancock North Central Elementary in 1988 and graduated from Hancock High School in 2000. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of West Florida, she returned to HNCE to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a teacher. She taught third grade for three years, and presently is in her fourth year of teaching kindergarten.
Mrs. Ball shared, “Teaching kindergarten is exciting, ever changing, and rewarding. I strive to have a safe, respectful, and positive classroom environment for learning. My greatest accomplishments in education are the accomplishments my students make. My proudest moments are seeing a child’s eyes light up with understanding or hearing a child exclaim with joy, “I did it!” I am proud to be contributing to my student’s love of learning. Working with the children, staff, faculty, and parents of HNCE is a great pleasure. In the near future, I plan to return to school to receive my master’s degree in education. I want to be a better teacher today than yesterday and am looking forward to many more years of teaching.”
Leslie Gaude has been named Teacher of the Year for South Hancock Elementary. She graduated from Hancock High School in 2007 with highest honors. She then attended Pearl River Community College and graduated with highest honors, earning an associate’s degree.
After PRCC she attended the University of Southern Mississippi and again graduated with highest honors earning B. S. in Elementary Education. Ms. Gaude is the daughter of James and Gidget Gaude of Bay St. Louis, and she has two older sisters and one younger brother.
Ms. Gaude shared, “My love of children and education influenced me to pursue a career as a teacher. Growing up with education as a priority, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, and I wanted to help them love school and learning like I do. Teaching is truly my passion. It is such a rewarding career, and it is truly rewarding to watch each and every student grow throughout the year.”
Leslie has been teaching for two years, both in the third grade. She loves to make learning interactive and hands-on for her students by providing projects and activities for them to complete. She serves on the Leadership Committee for South Hancock.
Angela Stephenson has been named Teacher of the Year for West Hancock Elementary. She is a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi where she attended Hattiesburg High School.
In 1989, she earned a B. S. in Elementary Education from The University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, she earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus in 1995.
While in graduate school at U.S. M. in Hattiesburg, she served as Assistant Director of the Mississippi Institute for Drug-Free Schools. In addition, she was a statewide curriculum developer for the Mississippi Institute of Law-Related Education and the Mississippi Institute of Alcohol and Tobacco-Free Schools.
Her lesson plans were published in books that were distributed throughout the state of Mississippi. These lessons enabled teachers to educate their students about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco and make them aware of school laws. While attending graduate school at U. S. M. in Long Beach, she served as editor of a book comprised of lesson plans written by teachers/graduate students for the purpose of educating Mississippi students about The Port of Gulfport.
This book was distributed to school districts throughout the state of Mississippi. In 2010 Ms. Stephenson became a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certified Master Teacher. She began teaching at Hancock North Central Elementary School in 1989, teaching first grade. For nineteen years, she taught a first and second grade looping class at HNCE. For six years, Ms. Stephenson has taught third grade and first grade at West Hancock Elementary School.
She has served as grade level chairperson, Educational Field Experience Teacher for student teachers from The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University, science fair committee member, and new-teacher mentor.
Ms. Stephenson shared, “Over 25 years, I have come to realize that I don’t teach children…I teach families. I left my grandmother’s home and came to Hancock County as a mere babe where I was welcomed with open arms. Away from home and alone…I was invited to family gatherings and Sunday dinners and aerobics classes at Old Dedeaux School.
“The faculty and families have seen me through so much, making sure I was loved and had everything I needed. As my own children grow, I appreciate the smallness of my students and cherish their little people ways even more. I enjoy watching them help each other and work together to discuss projects. They are so loving and have funny individual personalities.
“I love to watch them learn and grow. They make me happy. I feel that nurturing is the first step in reaching a child so he or she can learn. If children feel safe and loved, they can reach the stars.”
When she is not teaching at school, she can be found at teacher workshops at Stennis Space Center where she is employed by Jacobs Technology as Summer Education Programs Coordinator.
During summers and on some weekends she writes curriculum and assists teachers in learning how to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in their classrooms.
She also works with the Astro Camp Program at NASA’s Infinity Center where children from ages 7-16 come to expand their knowledge of STEM by working on hands-on, problem solving projects. Ms.
Stephenson is the mother of two sons, Austin, 20; and Mason, 16; and she resides in Slidell, Louisiana with her five miniature dachshunds. She enjoys quiet times at home, watching crime shows, dining out with friends, and cooking for and spending time with her family.