Picayune announces Teachers of the Year

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2021

Picayune School District’s Board of Trustees recognized this year’s Teachers of the Year during Tuesday’s meeting.

Before announcing those exceptional educators, Career and Technical Center director Jill Smith said that every teacher in the district faced a lot of challenges over the past year, but met them head on. She expects them all to come out stronger and more experienced with technology because of it.

Nicholson Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Angela Calamia. She was described as a lifelong educator, having spent the last 23 years of her life teaching children. Nine of those years were not at the Picayune School District. She currently teaches math to six graders and was described by some of her students as being their favorite math teacher, who is fair to everyone but still pushes them to do their best.

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Roseland Park Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Robin Bryson, a five year veteran of the district. Students described her as someone who never gives up on her students, a trait she tries to instill in those within her class. The school’s librarian said that she learned everything she knows about teaching from Bryson because she has the type of adaptability needed to teach to the student in front of her.

At South Side Lower Elementary, Alyssia Dunham was named Teacher of the Year. While she could not make Tuesady’s meeting, she was described as having a patient and positive attitude with her students. Dunham was also said to be able to provide advice and support to her fellow teachers and is committed to ensure every student has a quality education.

South Side Upper Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Caroline Macdonald. She is a fourth grade teacher who was described by her students as being kind, merciful and having a sense of humor. Macdonald teaches in a magnificent and lovely way to help students have the information they need to fully understand the material.

“God has blessed us to have her,” said Principal Tarva Cook.

West Side Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Amy Butler, a second grade teacher who was described by her students as being kind and having the ability to make a sad student happy. Described by her coworkers as oozing a passion for teaching, she is a huge asset to the campus, said Principal Kerri Wilder.

Picayune Junior High’s Teacher of the Year is Kerri Snider.  She has 25 years of experience and has impacted many student’s ability to read and impacted the way students now see the world.

Jessica Waterman was named Picayune Memorial High School’s Teacher of the Year for her ability to transform a student’s writing ability, her ability to brighten a dark day and her humbleness. Even though during her eight years at the school she exuded a sternness in her expectation that students to be present and accountable, it’s those hard lessons that shows the students that anything worthwhile will require a chase and an uphill climb, said Principal Kristi Mitchell.

Mitchell also praised not only her ability to grasp technology, but also her willingness to share that knowledge with her fellow teachers.

“I’ve seen this teacher live what she teaches; patience, kindness, rejoicing with another teacher in their success and encouraging other teachers,” Mitchell said.

After all of the teachers were named, Macdonald was named District Teacher of the Year.