After four decades, Jenkins looks back on great career

Published 10:10 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

For the past 41 years Marlene Jenkins has educated children in Mississippi and Louisiana. Just last week she decided she was going out on a high note.

The South Park Elementary teacher of the year will retire at the end of the current school year to spend more time with her husband, who retired last year, and their grandchildren.

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Even though her own children graduated from high school about 10 years ago and she could have retired then, Jenkins said she continued to teach because of her love for her profession.

“I still like what I’m doing,” she said. “I love teaching the children. I love their reactions. Every day is a different day. You never know what you’re going to come upon. It might be something the kids say or do, it picks you up and makes you feel great.”

The second grade teacher appreciates watching her students understand different concepts the class has spent time covering. Imparting knowledge to children leaves her with a good feeling.

“(I enjoy) Seeing their faces light up, and just helping them, especially when it’s something we worked on that they really couldn’t get for a couple days,” she said.

After spending 20 years in the Vicksburg Warren School District, Jenkins has made connections with families and parents over the years. Each year she takes time to get to know her students, and she said she always enjoyed getting to meet new students at the beginning of the year.

“I teach because of my love for children,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said she comes from a large family and spent a lot of time around children. Seeing her younger siblings’ zest for learning really inspired her to pursue a career in education. After years of being the teacher’s helper growing up, it was in high school when she had the realization she wanted to be a teacher.

“I guess it’s just been a part of me all along,” Jenkins said.

She is currently vying for the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year honor. Jenkins has both a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a reading specialist master’s degree from Nicholls State University.

She spent her 41 years as a teacher in St. James Parish, Neshoba County, Vicksburg Warren and at Delta Christian Academy teaching all ages from kindergarten through eighth grade. Jenkins spent four years as the supervisor of student teaching at Nicholls State.

She has volunteered with the Vicksburg High Softball Booster Club and the Vicksburg High Band Boosters. Jenkins is also involved with her church, St. Michael Catholic Church.

Twenty-one teachers in Warren County were nominated for teacher of the year. The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce has selected a panel of educators to interview each school’s chosen teacher and will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 15. Both teachers will receive $1,000.

Today’s story is the second in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year.