Apple honors Tupelo administrator

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo High School Assistant Principal Niki Peel has earned a prestigious honor for her use of educational technology.
Peel this week became the fourth person in Mississippi to be named an Apple Distinguished Educator. The designation is given by the computer company to recognize teachers for technological innovation.
The honor is very selective. Apple announces new members only every other year. Applicants must answer detailed questions about their teaching philosophy and include an introductory video.
This year, 76 educators were selected from more than 2,000 applicants. Peel was the only person from Mississippi to be chosen this year. There are now about 1,500 Apple Distinguished Educators in the world.
“I am still in shock and a lot of awe,” Peel said. “It is such an incredible recognition.
“I’m honored, and I’m excited because I hold this title in high esteem, and I know I will work as hard as I can and to my full potential to support what being a member of that community represents.”
Rather than receiving a monetary prize, the Apple Distinguished Educators get to collaborate with one another and share ideas.
Peel will attend a conference with the group in Phoenix during the summer and will be able to communicate regularly with members through e-mail lists and social media.
“They are visionary educators that have recognized Apple technology as a component of promoting teaching and learning,” Peel said. “I’m going to be able to rub elbows and have conversations and work with these people.
“Anytime you’re part of that type of community, you will grow personally and professionally. I know my number one goal will be to bring that growth back to Tupelo.”
Peel, who was an administrative intern last year, played a big role in preparing the district for its new laptop initiative. She wrote the student handbooks for the computer program and did much work behind the scenes.
Tupelo’s Larry Anderson, the founder and CEO of the National Center for Technology Planning, became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2000. He was excited about Peel’s recognition.
“On Niki’s record of achievement in the school district,” he said, “she displays an unassuming, quiet strength in her leadership style. It is not all about her, it is how others can grow as a teacher or a student. It is all about the people she serves.”
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@journalinc.com.