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Hancock County English Teacher Named 2013 Mississippi Teacher of the Year

by Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications | Apr 16, 2013

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2013

Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications 601-359-3706 Fax: 601-359-3033

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and the Mississippi Teacher Center today announced Joshua Lindsey, an English II teacher at Hancock High School, as the 2013 Mississippi Teacher of the Year (MTOY).

Selected from four congressional district finalists, Lindsey will receive a one-time $5,000 salary supplement from the MDE and will represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition. In addition, he will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet the President and First Lady and will participate in a Rose Garden recognition ceremony at the White House. The MTOY is also asked to share expertise through various presentations and activities for the improvement of education in the state.

Lindsey, an 11-year veteran teacher, spent five years at Hancock Middle School before transferring to Hancock High in 2011.  He said he was honored to be considered for the high honor of representing the state’s teachers.

“It’s humbling. I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the teachers of Mississippi,” he said.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi, Lindsey initially planned to attend law school and follow in his family’s footsteps of practicing law. A summer as a counselor for high school students altered his career path, revealing his love of teaching and coaching soccer. More than that, Lindsey said his true ability and talent rest in his mission of showing students that he genuinely cares for their well-being.

“I tell my students at the beginning of the semester that if they earn their credit for my class and pass the English II SATP but do not leave my classroom as better people, then I have failed them. I am more interested in the lives of my students first and their numbers second,” he said.

Hancock High student Hayden Brewer said she has known “Mr. Josh” through his roles as soccer coach and church youth leader, and the respect he garners from students and teachers is worthy of recognition.

“He is a wonderful man, blessed with the ability to teach and to teach well, be it English, character, or common sense,” she said.

Hancock High Principal Rhett Ladner said Lindsey has made a tremendous impact on students during his first year at the school. He was given the assignment of helping 65 students who had failed to pass the English II subject area test, and through his hard work and dedication, 49 out of the 65 passed the test - 75 percent.

Yet, Ladner said, Lindsey shuns the spotlight, and instead, places it on the students. 

 “I have been an administrator for 12 years, and I can say that there have been very few teachers that I have witnessed who have his skills as a teacher, his love for education, but, more importantly, his heart for children,” he said.

Lindsey said he and his wife Kristy, also a teacher, discovered a great truth during their journey in life. “There is no greater fulfillment in life than helping a child realize his or her true potential and awaking a lifetime love of learning,” Lindsey said.

Teacher of the Year Finalists

The 2013 Mississippi Alternate Teacher of the Year is Kathy Farmer, a government, economics, psychology, history and sociology teacher in the Scott County School District. She has spent her nearly 29-year career at Lake High School. She is repeatedly chosen by students as STAR teacher and as the recipient of Lake Attendance Center’s yearly Teacher Achievement Award. Inspired by her history teacher as a teenager, Farmer strives to emulate his passion for teaching and encourage her students to reach their goals.

Tara Harris, a second and third grade gifted education teacher in the Tupelo Public School District, has been in the classroom nearly 14 years. A National Board Certified teacher, Harris serves on the leadership team of Thomas St. Elementary and is a teacher representative on the PTO Board. She is a member of the Association for Excellence in Education and the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children. Her career choice was influenced by her mother, who taught for 32 years, and her desire to work with children. She is a firm believer in incorporating arts into the classroom and has received recognitions for her efforts. She works to develop creativity and imagination through learning.

Gwendolyn Milton teaches personal finance and entrepreneurship at Gentry High School in the Indianola School District, where she has taught for three years. Milton was the office manager at the school for 20 years before deciding to become a teacher. Her desire to help students become financially literate led her to a new career. She entered the profession through an alternate route teaching program, and she has completed the requirements to receive the Master Teacher of Economics endorsement and the Master of Arts Teaching degree in secondary education.

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