Bowmar teacher takes home surprise award

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A local teacher’s hard work in his own schoolwork and in his classroom is being recognized.

Todd Carr, a fourth grade English and language arts teacher at Bowmar Avenue Elementary School, was awarded teacher of the year for the Master of Arts in Teaching Middle Level Education program at Mississippi State University.

He was surprised to receive the honor at Bowmar’s annual award day program that recognizes the students’ accomplishments. His family and colleagues planned the surprise with the program’s mentor and outreach coordinator Keri Tawater. Carr, who doesn’t like attention, said it was a little embarrassing, but he was honored.

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“It was surprising and validating,” Carr said.

Tawater said Carr “exemplifies the attributes necessary to truly impact the students in a classroom.”

“Todd received the Master’s of Arts in Teaching-Middle Level Teacher of the Year for his outstanding instructional practices and continued efforts in growing as a professional,” Tawater said.

The school’s faculty, based on a combination of recommendations and an application, selected the award recipient.

“I had to write an essay for it,” Carr said.

Carr along with another local teacher, Renee Styles, are both up for an award through the National Association for Alternative Certification, which is also part recommendation, part application.

“We’re very proud of him,” said Dekota Cheatham, outreach coordinator in the MATM program.

The Master of Arts in Teaching Middle Level Education program at Mississippi State University is an online program where people can get a teaching license and eventually their master’s degree through 12 online courses.

Instead of going back to school for a second bachelor’s degree, they receive their license after two courses and can work as a teacher while continuing classes to get their master’s degree.

“It’s an alternate route to teaching,” Cheatham said.

Carr said the program prepares teachers for fourth through eighth grade students.

His original degree was in landscape contracting, and he worked in that field for 15 years before an accident left his ankle badly broken. After that mishap, he left the industry.

“I felt a call into teaching,” Carr said.

Carr was a substitute teacher at Bowmar and interned there during the 2014-2015 school year before having his own classroom this past school year.

He will complete the master’s program in August.