By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – As a former teacher, Ragan Milner saw the importance of parental involvement in schools.
So when she and her family moved to Tupelo from Montgomery, Ala., in 2007, it only seemed natural that she would be active in the district her two children attended.
She was recognized for her long list of volunteer activities on Tuesday when she was named the Tupelo Public School District’s Parent of the Year. Milner was honored at the district’s School Board meeting at Tupelo High School, along with the Parents of the Year for each of the district’s schools.
“Education is important to me, as a former teacher,” Milner said. “I want to do anything I can do to support the schools and make the job of teachers easier so they can focus on teaching my child and the other children.
“I know what it is like to be in a school district that doesn’t have a lot of parental involvement, and I want to be involved and encourage others to be involved.”
Milner was representing Milam Elementary, where her oldest son, Coltin, is a sixth-grader. She and her husband, Chuck, have another son, Chance, in fifth grade at Lawndale Elementary.
“She does it out of love,” Chuck Milner said. “She is a wonderful mom. I can’t tell you how impressed I am every day.”
Milner organized more than 60 volunteers, parents and high school students to support Milam’s Science Fun Day. She has arranged rewards for teachers and students and provided classroom supplies for teachers.
“She has helped out in every way,” Milam Principal Travis Beard said. “My word to describe her is ‘involved.’ She is involved in every area of our school.”
Milner also has been a teacher in Lawndale Elementary School’s science lab, and she helped create that school’s writing lab. She is on the PTO board at Milam, is vice president of the Lawndale PTO and is a homeroom chairperson. She serves as a PTO representative for a Mississippi Arts Commission grant and is on Milam’s Community Advisory Committee.
Milner was Thomas Street Elementary’s Parent of the Year in 2009 and Lawndale’s in 2012.
“She has been involved in all schools, and it is good for her to be recognized for exceptional work all the way up,” Beard said.
Milner said she has appreciated the school district’s support for parent engagement, calling it a big strength of the district.
“We chose Tupelo because of the reputation of its public schools,” she said.
INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL WINNERS
The following Tupelo School District parents were honored on Tuesday for being the Parent of the Year at their individual schools: Holly McCoy (Carver Elementary), Tata Cayson (Early Childhood Education Center), Gwen Cordell (Joyner Elementary), Amy Giorgenti (Lawhon Elementary), Amy Littleton (Lawndale Elementary), Milner (Milam Elementary), Fidel Cubillo (Parkway Elementary), Angie Homan (Pierce Street Elementary), Lisa Campbell (Rankin Elementary), Paige Scruggs (Thomas Street Elementary), Julie Walsh Seiler (Tupelo Middle) and Renee Baldwin (Tupelo High).