Millsaps Graduate Named JPS Teacher of the Year
At the school where she began her teaching career just five years ago, Hope Pearson received an unexpected accolade.
Jackson Public Schools honored Pearson as 2012 JPS Teacher of the Year..
Pearson, an exceptional education teacher at McWillie Elementary, was surprised in her classroom today by interim JPS superintendent Jayne Sargent. Sargent presented her with gifts donated by the Jackson business and non-profit community along with gifts from Pearson’s college alma maters, Millsaps College and Mississippi College.
Pearson began her teaching career in 2007 at McWillie.
"The words that I remember most from my principal, Dr. Margrit Wallace, during the interview were: 'I want you to act as an advocate for the child,' " Pearson said in a news release. "Those words were planted in my heart, and I knew immediately that my purpose was to be an exceptional education teacher."
Pearson co-teaches with the general education teachers and, in some rooms, works in small groups with students.
At McWillie, she has been:
• Team leader of the exceptional education department.
• Adopt-A-School coordinator.
• Ask4More Arts program coordinator in 2010-2011.
• Member of the Site Council, the leadership team, and the Safe Schools/Healthy students committee.
• Volunteer translator for Spanish-speaking families with children at the school.
Pearson has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and supplemental licensure in exceptional education and Spanish from Millsaps College. She also has an education specialist's degree and master's degree in counseling from Mississippi College. She plans to begin pursuing a doctorate degree in educational leadership in 2013.
"During my undergraduate studies at Millsaps, I became interested in education on a global scale," she said in the news release.
While in college, she did student teaching at Lincoln International School in Costa Rica for five months in fall 2006. She also did study/research in Yucatan, Mexico, in the summer of 2006 on the "Ways of Teaching Literacy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective." She also took a month-long Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica in summer 2005, living with a family there and volunteered twice weekly at an orphanage and senior citizens' home.
She said her goal as a teacher is "to continuously try to instill a love for learning, to share strategies that are relevant and meaningful to the students, to challenge them, and most importantly, to communicate to them that I care for them far outside of the realm of our classroom."
In the news release, McWillie's principal, Margrit Wallace, said Pearson "has a unique ability to relate to people of all ages and diverse backgrounds. She is an expert collaborator, and she is highly respected. Students and adults both want to work with her. She is one of the most outstanding professionals I have ever known and truly deserving of this honor."