By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – Teachers and administrators from Alcorn County and Corinth City school districts gathered at Crossroads Arena in Corinth on Monday for the “Celebration of Excellence in Education” program.
Sponsored by the Commission on the Future of Alcorn County, the C.A.R.E. Foundation and the Pierce Foundation, the celebration focused on the cooperation between schools, communities and businesses.
“Education has changed drastically over the past 25 years and will change even more in the next three to five years,” said Lee Childress, Corinth school superintendent. “We must put aside competition in favor of collaboration,” he said.
The meeting gave both districts an opportunity to mingle and make connections for teachers.
Alcorn County Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith said working together should speak volumes to the community.
Smith said she wants each employee to understand his or her role is crucial to treating every child with discipline, determination and compassion.
“It takes every single employee to meet the needs of every child in the county,” she said.
The event culminated in a speech by Ron Clark, educator and author named Disney’s “American Teacher of the Year” and Oprah’s selection for her first “Phenomenal Man” award.
Clark said he wants teachers to understand that the more they expect from students and themselves, the more they are going to get.
“Their energy and passion will be evident in student performance,” he said. “Kids will be what you see in them.”
Clark puts theory into practice at his school, the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. The school employs adventurous teaching methods and balances the discipline of set procedures with fun and creativity.
During his speech, Clark constantly roamed the audience, using quirky body language as much as words to convey his passion and excitement for education.
“We need methods that are not traditional to keep their attention,” said Will Stewart, PE teacher and coordinator of the GED program at Corinth High School.
“His energy is amazing,” Tonya Farris, principal at Alcorn Central Elementary, said of Clark. “He makes me want to be back in a classroom.
Attendees enjoyed refreshments and door prizes, which included sets of Clark’s books and tickets to a teaching workshop at the Ron Clark Academy. Alcorn County School classes begin Wednesday, Corinth’s start on Thursday.