By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Clutching the glass trophy she had just been awarded as one of Tupelo’s Teachers of Distinction, Tupelo High School’s Sharon Rogers spoke of her excitement merely to have been nominated.
Rogers was one of 10 teachers in the Tupelo Public School District to be recognized as Teachers of Distinction during a joint meeting of the city’s Rotary and Kiwanis clubs at the Summit Convention Center. Three assistant teachers were also honored.
Winning teachers were given $1,000 checks, while assistant teachers received $500. Rogers said the recognition was about more than the money or the trophy.
“It is overwhelming,” said Rogers, who teaches ninth-grade English. “Receiving the letters of nomination means as much as getting this award.”
Each year, the CREATE Foundation recognizes Tupelo teachers and assistant teachers for excellence inside and outside the classroom. Nominations are made by students, parents, teachers, administrators, other school district employees or community members. An external committee of educators chooses the winners.
This year, 36 teachers and 10 assistant teachers were nominated.
“You truly do touch the future, but you do even more than that,” Tupelo Interim Superintendent David Meadows told the nominees. “You help to mold and shape the future while the clay is still soft,”
In addition to Rogers, winning teachers were Robin Maynard, Carmon Dye, Joyce Juarez, Christy Bonds, Lealue Triplett, Christi Wall, Samantha Cox, Kim Noe and Lindsay Brett. Cheryl Eames, Lorie Murphy and Beth Miller were the winning assistant teachers.
“It is humbling because we have so many wonderful teachers in our district,” said Maynard, who teaches kindergarten at Carver Elementary. “It is nice to be awarded and recognized for something you love to do.”
Several endowments and organizations sponsored the awards and their monetary prizes. They include the CREATE Foundation Innovations in Education Endowment; the Jimmy Williams Memorial Education Endowment; Mitchell, McNutt and Sams law firm; Booth Family Endowment; Reed Family Trust Endowment; Tupelo Kiwanis Club; Marilyn and Bob Monroe Endowment; B amp& B Concrete; Rotary Club of Tupelo; BancorpSouth; Tupelo Public Schools Administrative Council; and Renasant Bank.
Rogers’ award was sponsored by the Monroe endowment, named for two former educators in the district.
“I am especially excited that I received the Bob and Marilyn Monroe award because of their reputation for excellence,” Rogers said. “They are held in high esteem.”
She said the recognition only supplements the joy she gets from her job.
“Even on the challenging days, I love my kids, and I consider it a privilege to teach here,” Rogers said.
Rogers, Maynard and Noe, a special education teacher at Tupelo High School, said they would likely use the prize money to stock their classrooms.
“I will probably use it to buy books,” Noe said.