Picayune’s Teachers of the Year announced

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SOUTH SIDE UPPER: Dr. Earl Fox was chosen as the Teacher of the Year for South Side Upper Elementary. He was also chosen as the District Teacher of the Year.  Photo by Jeremy Pittari

SOUTH SIDE UPPER: Dr. Earl Fox was chosen as the Teacher of the Year for South Side Upper Elementary. He was also chosen as the District Teacher of the Year.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune School District Board of Trustees, principals from each school introduced their choice for Teacher of the Year.
Nicholson Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Erin Stockstill. She was described by the school’s principal, Patrick Rutherford, as an instrumental team player for the past 18 years, serving as reading chair for the past five years and the fine arts committee, to name just two. Rutherford said she is the type of teacher that pushes students to do their best and never give up.
At Picayune Junior High, Kim Kramer Gates was chosen as the Teacher of the Year. Principal James Williams said Gates has been employed with the district for the past nine years, joining as a special education English teacher and later moving to the regular English department. She is involved in the school’s STAR program and has acted as the interim social studies chair and English chair at the same time.
“I can’t say enough about Mrs. Gates and her leadership,” Williams said.
Joaun Lee, director of the district’s Technology and Career Center, named Todd Giglio as Picayune Memorial High School’s Teacher of the Year. She said during his 28 years at the school he taught several subjects. Starting out in industrial arts, he moved to the technology side when that subject became outdated. He now teaches engineering and robotics. In his time at the school, he has shared his love of gadgets and technology with the students, Lee said. His class features more than eight 3-D printers, most of which he purchased with his own money. Through his class, students not only receive hands-on experience, but an experience they carry with them for life, Lee said.
Giglio said former students have told him they still have some of the items they made in his class decades ago.
Roseland Park Elementary Assistant Principal Kimberly Massengale introduced the school’s Teacher of the Year, Hailey Stegall. Massengale said Stegall joined the staff three years ago as a first grade teacher. Stegall’s classroom management was described by Massengale as exceptional and she also said Stegall spends time with her students to ensure they reach their goals.
South Side Upper Elementary Principal Debbie Smith introduced her school’s Teacher of the Year, Dr. Earl Fox. She said Fox has been with the school for 20 years. Prior to that, he worked for 28 years in Louisiana schools. Smith said she is continually impressed with Fox’s musical skills and work ethic. As a teacher, he shows students how to read music and write his or her own. Many of his students go on to participate in music based school organizations, such as band and choir. He also teaches a music class for students with disabilities.
South Side Lower Elementary Principal Christie Pinero presented Stracey Furr as her school’s Teacher of the Year. Pinero said Furr began with the school as a paraprofessional 10 years ago, but went back to school to earn her teaching degree. In her capacity as a second grade teacher she puts forth the effort to know everything about each of her students, down to who regularly picks them up from school. Her personal interest in each student also allows her to accommodate every student’s needs.
West Side Elementary’s Principal Kerri Wilder presented Julie Dennis as her school’s Teacher of the Year, describing her as an educator who is concerned about each student and does what’s necessary to reach them. Wilder said Dennis began her teaching career in the Orleans Parish School District in the 80s. Wilder said her own child, who attended one of Dennis’s classes, was also impressed with her teaching style.
Daphne Beebe, the director of the Center for Alternative Education, introduced Lori Pippen as her school’s Teacher of the Year. Beebe said Pippen joined her staff in 2012 and has since become a mentor to the other teachers. She teaches seventh grade math, science and social studies and eighth grade science and also acts as the school’s test coordinator and lead teacher in Beebe’s absence. When dealing with students, she takes the time to get to know each one to instill the qualities of hard work, pride and respect.
At the end of the presentations, Superintendent Dean Shaw introduced Fox as the District Teacher of the Year.
See Thursday’s edition of the Item for continued coverage of Tuesday’s meeting.

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