OUR OPINION: ‘Teachers of Distinction’ gains in a strong alliance

By NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo’s two leading private-sector backers of public education progress joined forces this week to assure that at least 20 exceptional teachers in the Tupelo Public School District receive $1,000 bonuses through the Teachers of Distinction program awards later this year.
CREATE Foundation, which has funded the program since 1999, will be joined by the Association for Excellence in Education’s $10,000 commitment. The private-sector AEE previously had awarded $1,000 bonuses called Achieving Excellence in Education. AEE President Brent Waldrop said a decision was made to combine the awards because their goals are the same.
In addition to the licensed teachers’ awards, a smaller number of assistant teachers will be recognized with $500 awards.
AEE and CREATE both have long and energetic records of support for stronger achievement in the public schools.
AEE, whose focus is only on the Tupelo schools, is supported by individual and corporate contributions. Its voluntary leadership almost always is drawn from the ranks of parents of students in the Tupelo schools.
The cash stipends enhance a highly visible venue for showcasing the achievement and professional excellence that led to each of the teachers’ or assistants’ nominations for the award.
The nomination process, it’s important to note, is open. Nominations can be made online at www.createfoundation.com. Nomination forms also are available at all Tupelo schools.
AEE marks its 30th anniversary this year, with its annual meeting April 25 at Carver Elementary School. The organization has awarded more than $2.5 million for special academic projects in that span.
The tenacity and strength of AEE derives from its diverse membership, all of whom share a particular passion for success in the Tupelo Public School District.
Private-sector organizational support like AEE’s continuing commitment and CREATE’s strong institutional dedication to education provide an incentive and leading edge for public schools, extending beyond but linked to faculty, staff and administration.
Most measures of a school district’s strength list community support at or near the top of assets. CREATE and AEE both embody the intentionality required to make good ideas into beneficial programs.