By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It’s not uncommon for Carver second-grade teacher Janna Fairley to write more than a dozen lesson plans each school day.
That dedication was recognized Tuesday when she was named the Teacher of the Year for the Tupelo Public School District.
“I like writing an individual lesson plan for each child,” Fairley said. “I want to give them whatever they need.”
Fairley was recognized at the TPSD’s school board meeting at Rankin Elementary. She was still shaking minutes after being honored.
“I’m quite overwhelmed,” Fairley said during a speech in which she also thanked God, her parents, her husband and her fellow staff members at Carver. She called the staff at Carver a “team.”
“We work together so that all of our children can learn the best way they can,” Fairley said. “I can’t do it without them.”
One member of that team is Carver second-grade teacher Mary Pat Palmer, who wrote a letter recommending Fairley.
“She is a big proponent of differentiated instruction,” Palmer said. “However the kids learn best is how she is going to teach. We are in awe of what she does in the classroom.”
Fairley has spent all of her 26 and a half years as a teacher in the Tupelo Public School District. Most of that time was at Thomas Street Elementary, where she taught for 25 years before moving to Carver this year after the TPSD’s school reorganization. She taught one year at Joyner Elementary, where she also did her student teaching.
Fairley said the move to a new school has been exciting. Most of the staff at Thomas Street moved there with her.
“It’s like you were in a comfort zone for a while and now you have a new classroom, and you can build it the way you want to,” she said.
Fairley has been National Board Certified for 11 years. She comes from a family of educators and credits her father, a professor and minister, with instilling in her a love of learning.
She has been previously honored as a CREATE Teacher of Distinction and as a Disney’s American Teacher Award nominee. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels, as a softball coach, in music camps and in Bible school.
“She takes so much to heart,” said her husband, Buddy Fairley. “Her focus the whole time is on those kids and their education. I’ve never seen someone so dedicated. She’s made it her life to give them the best start.”
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.