Mississippi’s Administrator & Teacher of the Year both from Pascagoula-Gautier School District
PASCAGOULA/GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - The Pascagoula Gautier School District can now brag that they’re home to two of the state’s top educators.
At an awards ceremony in Jackson Friday, Pascagoula High School Principal Dr. Caterria Payton was named the 2023 Mississippi Administrator of the Year, while Gautier Middle School Band Director Louise Smith was named the 2023 Mississippi Teacher of the Year.
“Congratulations to all winners and finalists of this year’s awards,” said Mike Kent, interim state superintendent of education. “These educators have made impacts in their communities and deserve accolades for demonstrating quality leadership and helping students achieve greater outcomes.”
In describing her personal philosophy, Payton stated, “It is our job as administrators to be champions for our teachers by giving to them what we expect them to give our students. When teachers feel that they are seen, heard and valued, they are more emotionally sound and confident and are more likely to be effective champions for all students.”
Smith, who teaches 7th-8th grade instrumental music education, stated, “The complex work of education is the great equalizer for our society, and teachers are the people who stand in the gap as bridges for students and their future.”
Both winners will each receive a $5,000 stipend and share their expertise through various presentations and activities to help improve education across Mississippi.
Smith will go on to represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
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