School Staff & Faculty Awards
Paraprofessionals of the Year
Pontotoc Elementary School – George Heard
Mr. Heard always goes above any expectation you may give to him. He is polite to the faculty, staff, and students at all times. He truly demonstrates a Warrior od Distinction attitude by placing everyone else’s needs above his own.
DT Cox – Marcus Hurd
Marcus Hurd is truly deserving of the Paraprofessional of the Year Award. He is a daily hero at D.T. Cox Elementary School. He wears many “hats” throughout the day. In each task that he attends, he gives it one hundred percent. He is kind, professional, helpful, humble, and considerate. He is a wonderful example of what work ethic should look like for this generation of students. He takes time and forms relationships with the children. He is a great role model for each and every one. He takes time to talk with them, make connections with them and allows them to “help” him when they ask. They enjoy his personality and he makes them laugh. He is very patient with each one, even when he has had a long day. He has the heart of a Warrior and embodies what all of us aspire to be. I am thankful for his example at our school. We are a fortunate staff to consider him part of our work family.
Pontotoc Middle School – Jennifer Alexander
The staff at PMS selected Jennifer Alexander as Paraprofessional of the Year. Peers cited Alexander's encouraging attitude and willingness to help others as key reasons for her selection. In addition to her physical education classroom duties, Alexander serves as School Health Coordinator; this year, she piloted Walk it out Wednesday for the students and Meditation Monday's for staff. Alexander is an extremely hard worker and serves as a positive role model for both students and staff.
Pontotoc Junior High – Kim Hall
Kim Hall is one of the hardest workers and respected employees we have in our building. She has been an assistant with our district for 10 years and has been a substitute before that since 1997. After 20 years in education, she is currently pursuing her teaching degree. There is not any job or assignment that I feel Kim could not be capable of doing with ease. A good phrase about her would be "She Gets It!" We are very fortunate to have her as a part of our team.
Pontotoc High School – Tracey Boland, Danny Collins, Thelma Heard, and Steve Johnson
The faculty nominated the PHS custodial staff as paraprofessional(s) of the year. Each was nominated individually by some of the teachers in their respective buildings. However, the majority of the faculty nominated them as a group. The faculty highlighted their positive attitudes, strong work ethics, and the genuine caring nature they display for the people and the campus. These individuals go above and beyond to make sure our students and staff enjoy a clean, well maintained campus daily.
Teachers of the Year
Pontotoc Elementary School – Sonja Hobson
Mrs. Sonja Hobson was chosen as the Teacher of the Year by her colleagues her at Pontotoc Elementary School this school year. During this process, she earned an over whelming amount of support for her selection as the school choice. As her building level principal, she was an excellent candidate to receive such an honor. I would like to recommend her to become the district teacher of the year for the following reasons:
- She is always organized and prepared for class every day. She comes to school with a positive attitude and works hard to meet the needs of her students daily.
- She continues to find ways to connect her current instruction to ongoing real life issues with her students. For example, she taught her students about the election process and held an election in her classroom. Students were provided the opportunity to campaign and try to convince their classmates why they were the better candidate for the job. To take it a further step, the students will participate in their own classroom Inauguration and the Classroom President will take the oath of office on the same date as the President of the United States.
- Parental Involvement. She involves parents ongoing with their child progress or lack of progress.
- She has been a valuable asset to the teachers on her team. This school year she serves as the grade chair for 1st grade and handles many of the administrative tasks involving her grade. On her team, she believes in lending a helping hand to help those who may struggle for one reason or another.
D.T. Cox – Rachel Chrestman
Rachel Chrestman is a wife, mother of two active boys and a member of First Baptist Church Pontotoc where she is very involved with the Children’s Department. She is an English Language Learner Teacher at D.T. Cox Elementary School. As our ELL Teacher, she serves 3rd and 4th grade students who have a language barrier to help improve their classroom performance.
The impact she makes on her students is immeasurable. Mrs. Chrestman goes above and beyond on a daily basis. Mrs. Chrestman’s daily schedule is packed but she somehow finds time throughout the day to pull students for one-on-one sessions when needed. She not only serves her students, she serves the classroom teachers, the other students in the general education classrooms and the student’s families. Mrs. Chrestman forms wonderful bonds with her student’s families that carry on even after graduation. Her fellow teachers, students and families absolutely love her.
Mrs. Chrestman is continuing to grow as an educator by tackling the National Board for Professional Teachers renewal process. She is the picture of a National Board teacher and meets each and every standard daily. Mrs. Chrestman is an irreplaceable asset to our school and community.
Pontotoc Middle School – Ashley Allen
Ashley Allen is in her sixth year of teaching. She has spent those years as a teacher at
Pontotoc Middle School. Although her years of experience are few, she has contributed much to her school community. Mrs. Allen led the PBIS model school initiative in 2013 as chairman of the Positive Behavior Support Team. She introduced our school-adopted substitute folder for substitute teachers this year, and she is currently in the process of finishing a student teacher guidebook. In the classroom, Mrs. Allen works diligently to meet the needs of each student. Allen engages students with technology and hands-on experience in her learning environment. Her work ethic serves as a model for both teachers and students. We are fortunate to have her on our staff and proud to have her represent us as PMS Teacher of the Year.
Pontotoc Junior High – Christy Murray
Christy Murray is the PJH teacher of the year and should be the next PCSD teacher of the year. Not only does Christy have the teaching credibility to represent PCSD at the state level, she is an embodiment of what it means to be a Warrior of Distinction. This past year on the state science test, her students scored well above average and top in the state. Her scores were the highest that we can remember since she has been teaching. This is a testament of the leadership, encouragement, and nurturing she offers each of her students in the classroom. She cultivates her students to be investigators, thinkers, and evaluators of the topics they study each day. She shows leadership outside the four walls of her classroom also. She encourages her fellow teaching partners by freely offering her content knowledge, demonstrating her servant-like attitude. Her leadership is also well known on the basketball court. She coaches the girls’ basketball team each day despite the way she feels. She continues each day to be present in the classroom and on the court despite the health challenges she’s faced. Over the years, she’s dealt with a number of health obstacles such as open heart surgery, 2 kidney transplants and daily dialysis. Despite the numerous surgeries and other health issues she faced, that prevented her from coaching for a couple years, Christy continued to nurture and encourage the team by attending every game and cheering them on from the sideline. Her first game back this year the girls won which was very emotional for her. The same day the ratings came in from the state department. She told her mom that with the ratings and the win combined that “if she died tonight, she would die a happy woman.” She has shown time and again that she’s what I strive to be like every day. She never complains and serves the students, teachers, and parents of PCSD as if her life depends on it. When I find myself having a bad day, I often wonder what Christy Murray would think of me today. She personifies the qualities that not only I strive to emulate but that I want the students and staff of PCSD to possess. She is the best we have; and therefore, she should be who we show to the state of Mississippi what a Warrior of Distinction looks, sounds, and acts like
Pontotoc High School - Tyler Arnold