Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary will present Pamela Manners with the Terrel Bell Award for Leadership. It's one of only six awards given to principals throughout the nation this year, and Manners has done her homework on the prestigious award and who it was named after.
"He was a former Dept. of Education U.S. Secretary, and he initiated this award for principals who show strides in leadership in overcoming adverse situations," Manners said.
Manners has been principal of Biloxi High for 4 years. She says pressing past Katrina has been the most challenging adversity she's faced during her career in education.
"We were going along fine. We had just started school in August when Katrina (hit), and of course, we immediately became a shelter for over a thousand people and a FEMA hospital here at the school. And within one month we cleaned it up and got school started again," Manners ssaid.
Even though she has a reputation as a great conversationalist with her students, Manners says she was speechless when Biloxi Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale called her with the good news. Shocked and humbled, Manners says she's accepting the award on behalf of the school's students, faculty and teachers, pointing out Biloxi High reached the coveted status of a Blue Ribbon school in the aftermath of Katrina.
"The award came on the heels of that, and it's a reflection of those test scores during that year. And it's a reflection of those test scores during that year, and who would've expected it? Not me," Manners said.
Math teacher Carol Walters will accompany Principal Manners on the trip to Washington, D.C. Walters was selected to go on the trip through a random drawing. The two will leave Sunday morning for Tuesday's ceremony.