Return to Headlines

Jackson Public Schools Recognizes The Excellence of JPS

January 12, 2022

Dr. Chinelo Bosah Evans
Dr. Chinelo Bosah Evans, Administrator of the Year
Ebony Marshall-Newsome
Ebony Marshall-Newsome, Teacher of the Year
Linda Faye Arnold
Linda Faye Arnold, Parent of the Year
Thea Faulkner
Thea Thomas-Faulkner, District Leader of the Year
Dr. Tamora McConnell
Dr. Tamora McConnell, Support Staff of the Year

On Tuesday, January 11, Jackson Public Schools recognized team excellence throughout the District. JPS Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene personally honored five outstanding individuals for their contributions which uplift our commitments to the scholars, families, and employees of our District. The recipients of the Jackson Public Schools' Best of the Year Awards for 2022 are:

  • Administrator of the Year – Dr. Chinelo Evans, Principal of the Jackson Tougaloo Early College High School
  • Teacher of the Year - Mrs. Ebony Marshall-Newsome, Lester Elementary School
  • Parent of the Year - Mrs. Linda Faye Arnold, Bates Elementary
  • District Leader of the Year - Ms. Thea Faulkner, Director of Partners in Education
  • Support Staff of the Year - Dr. Tamora McConnell, Office of Teaching and Learning



Dr. Chinelo Bosah Evans is the founding principal of the JPS-Tougaloo Early College High School Program where 120 JPS scholars are working toward earning an associate degree by the completion of their senior year of high school.  Dr. Evans is a proud Mississippian.  She received both her bachelor's degree in English and master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Jackson State University.  She also earned a specialist’s and doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Mississippi College.  

One of her most notable accomplishments was having served as Head Learner and Principal of Northwest Jackson International Baccalaureate World Middle School.  It was under her leadership that the school was recognized as the number one ranked middle school in Mississippi from 2013 through 2015 and one of the top fifty best schools in the United States according to  Dr. Evans believes that education is a priceless asset that affords individuals access to opportunities for personal and collective success.  She emphatically believes that it is her duty as a professional educator to empower faculty, staff members, students, parents, and community members to take ownership of the process of educating our citizens.

This is not the first time Dr. Evans has been recognized for her excellence in leadership. She was also most recently named the JPS Principal of the Month for the High School Division in October 2021. Dr. Evans was also recognized as Middle School Principal of the Year during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.


Mrs. Ebony Marshall-Newsome is a second-grade teacher at Lester Elementary School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Care & Family Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Jackson State University.  She is currently working on her Specialist in Psychometry from Jackson State University.  She has been employed with the Jackson Public School District since 2006, the start of her career in education.

Ebony is a resident of Flowood, MS.  She is a member of MU Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda National Honor Society, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities, a member of W.M. Stringer Lodge, PHA-OES Elnora #94, and Sweet Water Church in Flowood.

She believes that education is the only field in which other careers are made possible and teachers have the opportunity to change students’ lives and futures every day. She understands that educators face the responsibility of setting students up for success and high achievement.  Ebony will continue to grow as a teacher, but she is confident that she will make a positive difference in the lives of her students through consistent classroom management, engaging lessons, and projects, strong relationships, effective communication, and using data to guide differentiation and intervention.


Mrs. Linda Faye Arnold is the grandparent of a senior at the JPS-Tougaloo Early College High School Program. Over the past four year, Mrs. Arnold and her family have modeled parental engagement, support of students, and true altruism.

Since 2018, The JTECHS faculty and staff continue to be impressed with the initiative she takes to meet the needs of all scholars and staff. She never wants recognition or to be in the limelight. Instead, she focuses on being an excellent parent to a graduating senior and meeting any need she can.

During this pandemic, many families experienced food insecurity. Mrs. Arnold made a habit of frequently bringing additional lunches or snacks for the entire school to make sure that no one would be hungry. She would also bring snacks for the entire student body and staff just to brighten their day. While Mrs. Arnold saw this as a small way to show appreciation to students who have been engaged in a rigorous dual enrollment program. She was unaware of the impact that she was making. The scholars noticed her generosity and commitment to taking care of everyone at the school. She is an example of how everyone can do what they can, with what they have, to make a difference.

Beyond providing meals, Mrs. Arnold participates at almost every school event. She supports the Student Government Association and rolls up her sleeves to do whatever is needed to help the school honor its mission and accomplish its vision to become a top-ranked, model school of innovation. Not only is this level of involvement atypical for high school parents, it is also a shining example of what can be.

“Her efforts and unwavering support have helped many of us through challenging times,” said JTECHS Principal Chinelo Evans. “It is her quiet nature and caring heart which demonstrate servant leadership.” Mrs. Arnold is a beacon of hope for those who may need a helping hand.


Thea Thomas-Faulkner is the Director of Partners in Education. The goal of this department is to cultivate community engagement, enhance academic experiences, and support the various social-emotional needs of our scholars, families, and educators. Faulkner has established an excellent rapport with the Greater Jackson community, yielding over 30 new partnerships and more than $215,000 in donations and grant funds during the Fall semester of the 2021-22 school year.

Ms. Faulkner is a native New Orleanian, having moved to her late husband’s hometown of Jackson, MS in the aftermath of Hurricane Katina in 2005. A proud graduate of Dillard University, she also completed the Business Advantage Program at Millsaps College’s Else School of Management.  In 2019, Mrs. Faulkner was selected as one of 80 leaders, from more than 800 applicants across the United States and sovereign tribes, to participate in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network, an innovative 18-month fellowship for leaders to connect, grow and lead transformational change to move us forward to justice by bridging divides, encouraging new pathways for collaboration and leading transformational change for children, families, and communities.  Faulkner is a member of Women for Progress of MS and the Community Advisor Council with Junior League of Jackson. She also serves as a Board member of the Greater Jackson Arts Council and the MS Association of Partners in Education.

During the 2018-2019 school year, Faulkner led the merger of Community Engagement and Parent and Family Engagement under the Partners in Education umbrella, transforming the Morrison Complex into a stellar resource center for parents, families, and educators. In response to COVID-19, Faulkner partnered with multiple community partners to provide support to JPS scholars, families, and team members, such as academic enrichment, technology instructions with online platforms, mental health counselors, and revised holiday celebrations. Additionally, Faulkner led a citywide effort with multiple community partners, to fund the distribution of hot meals, produce packages, and bottled water. She also established a partnership with World Central Kitchen, an international organization to provide meals and bottled water to the Jackson community in the aftermath of the 2021 historic ice storms.

You will often hear Ms. Faulkner say, “The day we forget our work is about our children should be the day we all go home.”


Dr. Tamora McConnell was born and raised in Jackson, MS. After graduating from Murrah High School, she earned a Bachelor's in Broadcast Journalism with a double minor in French and English at the University of Southern Mississippi. By her senior year, she knew she had a calling to become an educator. Dr. McConnell enrolled at William Carey University, where she would earn three graduate degrees. She began her teaching career in Hattiesburg, MS.

Later, she moved closer to home and began teaching in Byram, MS. Dr. McConnell yearned to make an impact on her hometown, so she moved back to Jackson and began working at Wells APAC. After nine years in the classroom, Dr. McConnell was ready to help more children than just those in her classroom; therefore, she accepted a position at the Central Office of Jackson Public Schools. After 11 years in education, Dr. McConnell is dedicated now more than ever to showing others the greatness that Jackson produces by bringing out the light of every child.


In keeping with our commitment to cultivating a community of accountability and excellence, Jackson Public Schools annually recognizes team members who make outstanding contributions toward our mission of developing scholars' success and achievement through world-class learning experiences. While our program honors one individual in each category, we acknowledge that these awards are representative of many individuals throughout our District and our overall community making a difference in the development of young people.

Based on the state-level recognition programs, our Administrator and Teacher of the Year awards seek to honor individuals who demonstrate a superior ability to inspire their colleagues, faculty, and staff; demonstrate exemplary leadership practices; and ongoing, active involvement in the community. Additionally, the Parent of the Year recognizes an outstanding JPS parent, or grandparent, whose significant commitment, through generous gifts of time and other resources, has a powerful effect on the success of the school. Our Administrator, Teacher, and Parent of the Year will go on to represent Jackson Public Schools in the annual Mississippi Department of Education recognition programs.

In 2020, we added two awards to celebrate the very real contributions of our Support Staff and District Leaders, which gives us another significant opportunity to highlight exemplary service among the multi-faceted teams who help make our District a conducive environment for our scholars to grow and develop.

Congratulations and keep up the outstanding work!


WAPT January 12, 2022: JPS Celebrates Year of Excellence by Awarding School and Parent Leaders

2021-2022 People of the Year