By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Andi Hildenbrand’s passion for science education earned the mother of three special recognition on Tuesday night.
Hildenbrand was named the Tupelo School District’s Parent of the Year at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Although she has served the district in numerous capacities through the years, most prominent has been her efforts to expand science education, particularly in elementary schools.
Hildenbrand was representing Lawndale Elementary School, where she created and staffs a science lab that is visited at least once per month by all of the students in the third- to fifth-grade school.
She’s also created a science lab at Thomas Street Elementary and introduced programs at Milam to help students better grasp the subject.
“Kids don’t get enough science education, especially in kindergarten to fourth grade,” she said, noting that those same students are then required to take a state science test in fifth grade.
“I have always found this to be my ministry, helping and encouraging kids, especially in the field of science.”
After Hildenbrand received a degree in microbiology from Mississippi State University, she taught chemistry and biology for several years at Mount Pleasant Christian Academy.
After she and her husband Brett moved to Tupelo, she quit teaching to become a mother. The couple has three children enrolled in the district: 10th-grader Aaron, seventh-grader Andrew and fourth-grader Adrienne.
Though not teaching, she has continued to be involved in the schools. She has served on the PTO board of Thomas Street, Pierce Street, Lawndale, Milam and Tupelo Middle schools and is currently the president of the THS Tennis Boosters.
“She has been a real positive influence in the schools,” said Milam Principal Travis Beard.
Her husband Brett has seen the amount of time his wife has given to the schools.
“She gets harassment from her kids for putting a lot of time into it, but when you love something, you put a lot of time into it,” he said.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.