MDE Announces Finalists for 2022 Administrator of the Year and Teacher of the Year


Below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Education:

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently announced the finalists for Mississippi 2022 Administrator of the Year and Mississippi 2022 Teacher of the Year.

2022 Mississippi Administrator of the Year Finalists

The Mississippi Administrator of the Year program honors an administrator who demonstrates a superior ability to inspire teachers, employs exemplary leadership practices, and participates as an active member of the community. The recipient will receive a $5,000 stipend and share their expertise through various presentations, professional development, and activities for the improvement of education in the state.

The Mississippi Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary teachers in the state. The recipient of the award will be invited to share their expertise through various presentations, professional development and educational improvement activities. The recipient will also receive a $5,000 stipend and represent Mississippi in the national Teacher of the Year competition.

Winners will be announced April 1 at an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson.


2022 Mississippi Administrator of the Year finalists:

District 1 Finalist – Dr. Meghan Cates, Director

Mooreville Elementary School, Lee County School District

Outline of Personal Philosophy: “Students learn best by doing and participating in their education.”

Dr Terence James

District 2 Finalist – Dr. Terence James, Director

Vicksburg-Warren Career & Technical Center, Vicksburg-Warren School District

Outline of personal philosophy: “Education is based on the belief that education is a means for everyone to acquire the knowledge necessary to prepare for their individual activities.”

Kara Killough

District 3 Finalist – Kara Killough, Principal

Rankin Northwest Elementary School, Rankin County School District

Outline of personal philosophy: “Connections are the key to unlocking the potential of all students. When educators challenge, support and inspire their learners, they become the student’s greatest champions. Educators need champions too themselves to encourage and motivate them, so they can continue to share their passion for learning.The field of education is a beautiful place to partner with others and make a powerful difference in the world that surrounds us.

Dr Kiana Pendleton

District 4 Finalist – Dr. Kiana Pendleton, Director

Laurel Magnet School of the Arts, Laurel School District

Outline of Personal Philosophy: “Teachers are the nucleus of a school and strong attention to detail, on the part of the leader, must be applied to enhance their ability to positively impact student achievement.”


2022 Mississippi Teacher of the Year finalists:

Rachel Jenne

District 1 Finalist – Rachel Jenne’

DeSoto Central Middle School, DeSoto County School District (sixth grade math)

Outline of Personal Philosophy: “Education and teaching begins with the foundation that all students can learn, knowing that they need different learning environments to grow.”

Meredith Jierski

District 2 Finalist – Meredith Jierski

Northside Elementary School, Clinton Public Schools (Second Year English/Language, Math, Science)

Outline of Personal Philosophy: “All children deserve a positive learning environment in the classroom that fosters creativity, passion and enthusiasm.”

Erin Fortenberry

District 3 Finalist – Erin Fortenberry

North Pike High School, North Pike School District (grades 10-12 science)

Outline of Personal Philosophy: “Use engaging lessons to instill a love of science in its students, making them lifelong learners.”

Brittany Morgan

District 4 – Brittany Morgan

Petal High School, Petal School District (Grades 11–12 history)

Outline of personal philosophy: “A quality education that includes tolerance, critical thinking and teamwork is essential to the development of young minds.”

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