SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Twelve South Mississippi educators were selected as winners of this year's Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grant Friday. Hancock Bank and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation awarded the grants of $2,000 each for developing innovative teaching solutions. The teachers were honored during a luncheon ceremony which brought in hundreds of educators and supporters.
Honored recipients are:
- Joshua Andrews of Bay High School in Bay St. Louis;
- Reynolds Bodenhamer of Gulfport High School;
- Casey Campbell of William Colmer Middle School in Pascagoula;
- Emily Cloud of St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi;
- Emileigh Ellis of Gulfport High School;
- Megan Foster and Marae Amacker of Crossroads Elementary School in Gulfport;
- Melissa Payne of D’Iberville High School;
- Brittany Pitman of Central Elementary School in Pascagoula;
- Erika Reynolds of College and Career Technical Institute in Pascagoula;
- Cagney Weaver of Biloxi Upper Elementary School;
- Katherine Windham of D’Iberville High School.
"The important thing is we want to recognize those teachers that do more than reading, writing, and arithmetic," said Hancock Bank President Keith Williams.
The teachers and were selected based on their proposed projects, but also on strong leadership skills and their passion for the role they play in developing future leaders.
"It's nice for somebody to give us the opportunity allow us to elaborate on some of our ideas - a way for us to give back to our community," said recipient Joshua Andrews.
An independent committee not affiliated with Hancock/Whitney bank selected the winners. As part of the recognition, winners also received commemorative crystal bowl awards.
This was the 22nd year for the awards ceremony, which was started by Leo Seal, former president of Hancock Holding Company and chairman of Hancock Bank.
The grant recognizes and encourages educational excellence by underwriting original classroom teaching initiatives developed by teachers in the seven Mississippi counties in which Hancock Bank has locations: Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, and Pearl River.