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JPS Teachers Recognized as Outstanding Educators

September 14, 2018

Carrie Chadic, Richard Lee Jones, Renna Moore, Yoshawda Trotter, Dedgra Whitley
2018 Ask for More Arts Outstanding Educators (from left) Carrie Chadic, Renna Moore, Richard Lee Jones, Yoshawda Trotter, and Dedgra Whitley

Ask for More Jackson, with support from the Community Foundation for Mississippi, recognized five JPS teachers as Outstanding Educators. Ask for More Jackson held a communitywide celebration on Wednesday, September 5 at its first Lunch Bunch of the school year. Leading up to the community event, the Ask for More Jackson team surprised these teachers at their schools to announce their selection as Outstanding Educators.

The 2017-2018 honorees are:

All five educators received sizable cash awards made possible by a generous anonymous donor. The teachers can use the funds for professional or personal purposes. Jane Alexander, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Mississippi, and Carolyn Jolivette, Executive Director of Ask for More Jackson explained the teachers' accomplishments.

"We are delighted to recognize our outstanding educators by supporting this award," said Alexander. "Our teachers are our strength in public schools, and we should certainly be proud of the fine work they do. It's important to celebrate the many great things teachers are accomplishing in our community."

"These outstanding educators connect and communicate effectively with parents and are committed to using their talents and creativity to ensure that every child receives a quality education," said Jolivette. "Moreover, they care about our children and dedicate their lives to helping every child succeed."

We join them in saluting these Outstanding Educators for their dedication to improving the lives of scholars. They represent many teachers in JPS who support of the District's mission of ensuring that every student receives a quality education in partnership with parents and the community.

About the Outstanding Educators

Carrie Chadic is a fourth-grade math teacher, at Clausell Elementary School. She has 19 years of experience in education. She was the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for Clausell. She is very well-versed in researching strategies and finding resources that she can use when teaching specific standards. She has a way of engaging students in the lesson through rap and visual representation. Ms. Chadic incorporates iPads and other technology in her classroom so that students can practice one-on-one with different skills. Scholar recognition is definitely her strength. She does so much to praise student achievement and increase motivation. She believes it truly takes a village to teach today’s students. Therefore, she communicates with parents through Class Dojo, texts and calls. She has an open door policy where parents can come in to observe the class. She informs them of their children's successes or failures on a regular basis. Ms. Chadic is a member of the school leadership team and works well with her grade level and subject area teams in professional learning communities where they discuss strategies and analyze data and make plans to increase student achievement.

Richard Lee Jones is a fourth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher at Spann Elementary. He has 12 years of experience in education. Mr. Jones was a Metro Chamber Teacher of the Year in 2018 and the Spann Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2017. Mr. Jones develops lessons that target multiple learning styles to engage students. He uses technology to assist those students who are visual, tactile, or auditory learners. He serves as team leader for his grade level and trains new English language arts teachers in designing a curriculum that will meet the needs of the students. His classroom was featured as a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) model classroom in the University of Southern Mississippi’s statewide magazine. Mr. Jones values parent and community engagement and has regular communications with his parents. He also involves different entities of the community to engage in learning projects or activities with his students. He recognizes the academic growth of students and motivates them to continue to excel. Mr. Jones is a very dedicated and passionate teacher at Spann.

Renna Moore is an art teacher at Forest Hill High School. She has 13 years of teaching experience. Ms. Moore received the National Art Education Association for Mississippi Outstanding Art Educator Award in 2018. To give her students the tools to be technologically advanced, she has pushed for her students to use technology in their artwork. Her teaching style is predominantly project-based learning with verbal as well as written self-critique where they analyze their own work and the artwork of others. One of the reasons the students enjoy her class so much is that she uses hands-on approaches. At Forest Hill, she plans cross-curriculum lessons with other teachers to connect the arts with the standards they teach. She serves as a teacher mentor and mentors her department along with a few other teachers at various schools. She keeps an open line of communication with parents through regular phone calls and emails. She uses an online art gallery website, ArtSonia.com, to display updates of the different projects the students are working on to allow parents to share in the students' progress and success.

Yoshawnda Trotter is a fifth-grade English language arts teacher at Casey Elementary. She has 13 years of teaching experience. She was named Casey's Teacher of the Year in 2012 and serves as the team leader for fifth grade. She is also a member of the hospitality committee and Site Council. Mrs. Trotter leads her team in working holistically across disciplines for the good of all their students. She uses a variety of engaging activities and ensures that every day is well planned and purposeful. Her strong planning skills, effective pedagogy, and engaging strategies consistently produce high achievement that is reflected in measurable progress across the years and on state assessments. Mrs. Trotter is routinely in touch with her scholars' families through regular group communication, individual messages and timely information. She is the constant encouraging force in her classroom who cheers her students to greater levels and has an individual relationship with each one. She notices their moods and checks their thoughts and feelings to foster the greatest growth possible in each one.

Dedgra Whitley is a seventh-grade English language arts teacher at Chastain. She has eight years of teaching experience. She was named WJTV Teacher of the Week in 2015. She was recognized by Mississippi College for sufficient academic achievement and was Chastain's Teacher of the Month in January 2018. Ms. Whitley encourages creativity, which includes questioning her students or allowing them to discuss a particular topic or text before the lesson begins. She encourages her students to think about real-life situations during discussions of informational or literary text from various sources. Students are provided the opportunity to create content-based projects based upon prior knowledge in addition to what they have researched and learned about the topic in class. Ms. Whitley strives to be a great leader at Chastain who takes the initiative to work with her team and colleagues to ensure the school days run orderly and productively without incidence. She mentors teachers and is always willing to learn as much as she can to continue to grow as an educator and leader. Mrs. Whitley believes that all stakeholders play a vital role in educating our children. Her parents know that they are part of the learning community in her classroom.

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