Jim Hill teacher named JPS Teacher of the Year - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jim Hill teacher named JPS Teacher of the Year

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A big honor for a Jackson Public School teacher Thursday morning.

29-year teaching veteran Susan Bender of Jim Hill High School is the new JPS Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Cedric Gray stopped by her classroom to award Bender, who teaches Honors Biology, Microbiology, and Forensics. Her classroom is filled with what she calls pets, including lizards, guinea pigs, rabbits, and a four-foot ball python named Jake the Snake. @

"What I've found over the years is, the pets help to encourage students to come to school, it helps with stress, it's just a wonderful place for them to be, it's a good place for them to learn," Bender says.

She explains why she loves teaching.

"These students need someone who is dedicated to them, who is dedicated to the profession, who wants to make sure they're successful. After all, science is the most important subject. Everything that goes on in our lives has to do with science."

"I've learned so much being in her class for the past two years, I've learned a lot. That's why I want to major in Forensics," says student Tatayana Smith.

Bender was awarded $50 in restaurant gift certificates, a certificate to shop at the JPS resource center, and a plaque. A few more surprises are in store for her when she's honored at an upcoming JPS Board meeting.

Bender will now compete with others to be Mississippi Teacher of the Year. 

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