Jefferies focuses on her students growth through the year

Published 9:45 am Friday, January 27, 2017

Veronica Jefferies loves math, science and children.

Even though she never thought she would be a teacher, she has found her niche as a fifth grade math and science teacher at Warren Central Intermediate School.

“My favorite thing about being a teacher is all the hands-on activities that we do, and just seeing the kids light up,” Jefferies said. “I like to see them learning.”

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The WCIS Teacher of the Year likes to incorporate hands-on activities in her classroom.

Her students do activities to learn their lesson on a personal level. Recently, Jefferies has had her students make salads to demonstrate mixtures, arm wrestle to demonstrate force, and patronize a fake restaurant to help students add and subtract the decimals on their bill.

“I believe teaching a lesson should have multiple representations so you can reach every child in the classroom, (have) some type of hands-on activity and should be tied to a real life situation,” Jefferies said.

She also makes sure to create a relationship with her students at the beginning of the school year by letting them know her goals and expectations. Being focused on growing is something she wants her students to prioritize.

“I teach because making a positive difference in a child’s life is everything,” Jefferies said.

One area of her job she particularly enjoys is learning new methods of teaching. She spends a significant amount of time during the summer attending workshops and professional development courses to become the best teacher she can be.

Jefferies spent one year teaching in Madison Parish Schools, one year in Jackson Public Schools and one year at Vicksburg Junior High before settling in at WCIS for the past 10 years. She has found the perfect fit with students in the middle grades having always taught her favorite subjects of math and science to fifth, sixth or seventh grade students.

Jefferies was also named WCIS Teacher of the Year for the 2008-09 school year.

Growing up, Jefferies was a good student. When she was 15 she lost her mother to cancer, and it pushed her to work even harder, which landed her in the top 10 of her class.

She wanted to go to school to become a pediatric nurse, but at the end of her college career she decided she couldn’t deal with the emotional side of working in healthcare. With the encouragement of friends, Jefferies decided to use her love of math, science and children to become a teacher, something she never thought she would do.

“It wasn’t something I always wanted to do,” Jefferies said of being a teacher. But she knew she loved children, and it was important for her to incorporate them into her profession. “I wanted to be that positive influence in a child’s life.”

Jefferies ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in elementary education from Alcorn State University. The Jefferies family — made up of husband Antonio and daughters Alexis, Amber and Antonica — has lived in Vicksburg since 2003.

She is involved in Order of the Eastern Star, the Upward Bound Program, the Mississippi Association of Educators and Greater Grove Street 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 third in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the chamber’s Teacher of the Year.