By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – After nearly three decades of leading schools, Milam Elementary School Principal Travis Beard has become a mentor to many administrators.
His most important advice, he said, is to love your work, care for your kids and do what is right.
“Teaching comes from the heart,” said Beard, who was named the Tupelo Public School District’s Administrator of the Year. “If you teach and have genuine concern for children, you’ll be successful as a teacher, as a coach, as an administrator and as a person.”
Beard was honored during Tuesday’s School Board meeting at Pierce Street Elementary School. He will represent the district in state competition.
“He is like a sponge,” Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden said of Beard. “He wants Milam to do well, and the teachers respond well to him. He is having a great year.”
Now in his 42nd year as an educator, Beard’s career began in 1968 when he was employed as a teacher and coach at Milam. He worked in the same position at Carver Elementary and later became an assistant principal at the school.
He’s been a principal for 28 years, including 20 years at Amory Middle School. Beard moved to his current position at Milam in 2005.
This is the second time Beard has been an Administrator of the Year. He won the honor in Amory in 2002.
Although he has more than enough years to retire, Beard said he will be back again next year.
“It really means a lot at this point in my career to realize I have an impact on faculty and students,” he said. “I still have something to work for and goals I want to achieve.”
During his acceptance speech on Tuesday night, he spoke of being energized by working with Tupelo’s “top gun” principals.
“We have some outstanding young administrators pushing for their school to be the top school, and I’m trying to keep Milam up there with them.”
Those who wrote letters of recommendation on Beard’s behalf spoke of the relationships he’s established with students and teachers, as well as his community service.
Beard is active in the Kiwanis Club and has started a chapter for Milam students.
“One thing I enjoy is the kids,” he said. “I’ve always tried to put kids first and do what is best for them.”