Millsaps alumna Hope Patterson Pearson, B.A. 2007, is the 2012 Jackson Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She is an exceptional education teacher at McWillie Elementary.
She was also recently named the 2011 Metro Teacher honoree for JPS. Pearson received a Bachelor's of Arts in elementary education and supplemental licensure in exceptional education and Spanish from Millsaps College.
"As a student at Millsaps, Hope had the vision to set lofty goals and the tenacity to reach her goals as both a student and an educator," said Dr. Marlys Vaughn, professor of education at Millsaps College.
"Hope is committed to providing best instructional practices with high expectations and achievement for all students. Hope is an exemplary educator dedicated to improving the lives of others and serves as a mentor to current Millsaps College pre-service teachers."
After graduating from Millsaps, Pearson completed an education specialist's degree and master's degree in counseling from Mississippi College. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree in educational leadership.
"During my undergraduate studies at Millsaps, I became interested in education on a global scale," she said.
Her experiences abroad included student teaching at Lincoln International School in Costa Rica for five months in fall 2006; research in Yucatán, Mexico, in the summer of 2006 on the "Ways of Teaching Literacy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective," including field research at five schools located in vastly different areas; and a month-long Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica in summer 2005 during which time she lived with a family and volunteered twice weekly at an orphanage and senior citizens' home.
"In Yucatán, I learned about attempts at standardizing education through a televised system, unique language barriers for students who speak Mayan, and the system of accountability for teachers there," she said.
As an exceptional education teacher, Pearson teaches and coordinates special education programming for students who have mild to moderate disabilities, including developmental delays, specific learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and emotional disabilities.
Since joining the faculty at McWillie Elementary in 2007, Pearson's leadership roles have included team leader of the exceptional education department, adopt-a-school coordinator, Ask4More Arts program coordinator in 2010-11, member of the Site Council, the leadership team and the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Committee and volunteer translator for Spanish-speaking families.
She said her goal, whether it is at McWillie or schools abroad, is "to continuously try to instill a love for learning, to share strategies that are relevant and meaningful to the students, to challenge them, and most importantly, to communicate to them that I care for them far outside of the realm of our classroom."
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