From the Desk of Kelly Riley, MPE Executive Director
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I’m sitting in the lobby of Jackson State’s College of Education and Human Development on a stormy Saturday morning as I write this article. I am encouraged by the fifty individuals who have driven from all over the state to attend our Praxis workshop. MPE has partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education and Impact Education Group to provide these workshops throughout the state as a means of addressing the teacher shortage. Our participants this morning are young/old, black/white, male/female, teacher prep students, assistant teachers pursuing their dreams of their own classrooms….They are all committed to entering the profession that prepares all other profession--teaching.
I’ve thought a lot about our founder, “Miss Linda” Anglin, this morning. She would be so excited to see these workshop participants going the extra mile to prepare to earn their certification. When we lost her in early March at the age of 89, she had touched thousands of lives and impacted multiple generations. She did whatever it took to support her students and her fellow teachers. As a retired educator who did her student teaching with Miss Linda shared, “She had little patience for those who were not fully invested in the important work of education.” Read more about Miss Linda’s legacy in the MPE Journal on page 15.
I firmly believe Miss Linda would have been as troubled as the rest of us by the legislative leadership’s decision to insert additional funding for vouchers into a non-education bill in the final hours of the legislative session. As one of her sons shared with me, one of his earliest memories of his mother’s MPE efforts involved telephone calls encouraging MPE members to make personal contacts with their respective legislators, even if that contact occurred at church. Miss Linda held legislators accountable for their actual votes, not just their verbal promises. She firmly believed that MPE members should be active and engaged citizens. Our Advocacy Guide for Educators, which we will release this summer, will provide resources to assist our members in strengthening their advocacy skills.
Miss Linda would have loved our annual Best Practices Symposium on March 30. Gerry Brooks’s humor and videos were intertwined with significant strategies for effective schools. The entire ballroom was roaring with laughter. Our concurrent sessions were informative and engaging. Marshall Ramsey was the icing on the cake as he emphasized the power of teachers: “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that what you’re doing isn’t making a difference. The kids you’re teaching now will be the leaders one day.” It was truly a powerful day as we celebrated our 40th anniversary.
A highlight of symposium was the election of our officers and new directors for the coming year. Lori Brennan, Literacy Curriculum Coordinator for the Ocean Springs School District, will lead our association this year! We welcome Gennella Graham, Nicole Spinks, Missy Bufkin, and Amber Combs to our board. Visit page 10 to learn more about our newest board members. I would like to thank Dr. Brad Johns (Past-President), Lisa Williamson (District 1), Julie Burton (District 3), and Beckie Nieman (District 7) for their commitment and service to MPE, as they rotated off of our board at symposium.
I am excited to share that MPE is partnering with the MDE to recruit up to 250 diverse practitioners from throughout Mississippi to pursue National Board Certification. Funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will enable us to provide “seed money” for these candidates to pursue certification. With 4,166 NBCTs, Mississippi ranks fourth in the nation for the percentage (12.9%) of teachers who are NBCTs, but only 8% of these NBCTs are teachers of color. This project will focus on the four local districts (Gulfport, Jackson, Ocean Springs, and Sunflower County) participating in MDE’s Teacher Residency pilot and will also support up to forty candidates from the state at-large.
Thank you for all of your hard work and efforts during the 2018-19 school year. You have impacted multiple lives. Enjoy your summer!