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Eight JPS Educators Recognized As 2020 Outstanding Educators

October 21, 2020

Jerrett Benson Latarius Hicks Sherian Hines Justin Jackson
Jarrett Benson Latarius Hicks-Lilly Sherian Hines Justin Jackson
Angela jones Nikita Still Carmen Oswalt Katie Ann Upchurch
Angela Jones Nikita Still Carmen Oswalt Katie Ann Upchurch

Ask for More Jackson, with support from the Community Foundation for Mississippi, celebrated eight teachers from the Jackson Public School District as Outstanding Educators for 2020. Although teachers can never be compensated enough for all they do to impact the lives of children, all winners will receive monetary awards as appreciation for planting the seeds of knowledge that continues to grow.

A generous anonymous donor has made this award possible. The teachers can use the funds for professional or personal purposes. Ask for More Jackson thanks the Outstanding Educator Fund for the Community Foundation and Jane Alexander, CEO, for supporting this award. She believes that we should be proud of the fine work of our educators and celebrate the many great things teachers are accomplishing in our community. 

Outstanding Educators 2020 Winners

Jarrett Benson, a fifth-grade teacher at Walton Elementary School, has five years of teaching experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Mr. Benson serves as an interventionist at Operation Shoestring to provide additional support for at risk students.

Latarius Hicks-Lilly, a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Lester Elementary School, has five years of teaching experience. Mrs. Hicks-Lilly holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. She has been named Lester’s Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Month. She is the director of the Our Kids at Work mentorship program sponsored by the First Missionary Baptist Church in Hermanville, Mississippi.

Sherian Hines, a first-grade teacher at Dawson Elementary School, has 15 years of teaching experience. Ms. Hines holds a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and has been recognized for Perfect Attendance and as Teacher of the Month. Her passion is working with the Children’s Ministry in her church.

Justin Jackson, a second-grade teacher at North Jackson Elementary School, has seven years of teaching experience. Mr. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Reading. He is a Sunday School teacher and enjoys working with the youth in his church.

Angela Jones, an exceptional education teacher at Lanier High School, has 13 years of teaching experience. Ms. Jones holds a Specialist degree in Education and is currently teaching Functional Skills. She is a member of the Teacher Leadership Program 2020 and has been named Teacher of the Month. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Sunday School Teacher, and Young Life Leader.

Carmen Oswalt, a fourth-grade math teacher at Spann Elementary School, has 29 years of teaching experience. Ms. Oswalt holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education. She has been selected three times to be in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers Publication and has received several grants from the Junior League. She enjoys tutoring children at her church and teaching Vacation Bible School.

Nikita Still, a second-grade teacher at Key Elementary School, has seven years of teaching experience in education. Ms. Still holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in Reading. She has received the Exciting and Innovative Teaching Award, Proficiency and Growth Award, and Staff Member of the Month. She is passionate about feeding the homeless and tutoring at-risk students.

Katie Ann Upchurch, a first-grade teacher at Pecan Park Elementary School, has three years of teaching experience in education. Ms. Upchurch holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education. She has been named the Staff Member of the Week and Teacher of the Month. She volunteers as an afterschool tutor at Pecan Park and serves as the director for Summer Camp at First Ridgeland Baptist where she is also a Sunday School Teacher.

As stated by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world." We salute these 2020 Outstanding Educators from Jackson Public Schools for impacting change in the schools and communities and for their commitment and dedication to providing excellence for all students they serve.