By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Carver Elementary School first-grade teacher Kim Fandel learned two lessons while substitute teaching at Tupelo High School more than 20 years ago.
She loved teaching, and high school was not her niche.
So Fandel, who had graduated from Mississippi State University with a marketing degree, decided to become an elementary educator. That she made a wise decision was emphasized on Tuesday night when she was named the Tupelo Public School District’s Teacher of the Year.
“She truly goes above and beyond to reach every student,” said Carver Principal Terry Harbin. “She integrates technology, is hands-on, provides real-life situations that are meaningful to students and ensures that all students have an understanding of the material.”
Fandel said her initial seeds to become an educator were laid from watching her parents: Her dad, John Correro, was a former high school football coach and her mom, Gloria Correro, was an elementary school teacher and later a professor at Mississippi State University. Yet she wasn’t sure that it was what she wanted to do it until she tried it, substituting while applying for other jobs.
“It is not an easy job, but it is very rewarding,” she said. “You truly get out of it what you put into it, watching what the kids do. I am learning something new every day.”
Fandel took the alternate certification route and later received her master’s degree in education. She worked at Church Street Elementary for 20 years before moving to Carver this year.
She has been named a CREATE Teacher of Distinction, a Mississippi State University College of Education Circle of Excellence award recipient, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and a Disney’s American Teacher Award nominee. She was also inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Master Teachers.
THE TUPELO SCHOOL DISTRICT ALSO RECOGNIZED the Teachers of the Year for each of its schools: Carver: Kim Fandel, ECEC: Katherine (Katie) Pannell, Church HSAA: Antonio Magee, Joyner: Sherry Gravatt, Lawhon: Brenda Gilbert, Lawndale: Paulette Agnew, Milam: Patricia Griffin, Parkway: Donna Jones, Pierce: Dr. Jethlyn McCraw, Rankin: Chiquita Ivy, Thomas: Angela Bates, TMS: Lindsay Brett, THS: Bea Ford, SAM: Kristen Fondren.