Varnado appreciates creative freedom teaching offers

Published 7:24 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

Part of an ongoing series featuring the teachers nominated for Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year honors.

Monique Varnado said teaching was not in her initial plan after receiving a biology degree from Alcorn State University and a cytotechnology degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“For 11 years I sat behind a microscope, never really having to interact with anyone,” said Varnado, who also received an MBA in business administration from Mississippi College. “I’ve worked since I was 16 and always enjoyed those jobs that allowed me to interact with and serve people, especially children. It started weighing on me heavily that I needed to be working in my own hometown, doing something that benefitted my community. Seeing and hearing the need for teachers, I knew this was the position in which I could make the biggest impact for the most deserving segment of our population.”

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Varnado, a nominee for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, is a fifth grade social studies teacher at Vicksburg Intermediate.

She feels she is making a difference in the world and has been teaching for more than three years.

“I appreciate the creative freedom teaching offers,” Varnado said. “We have educational growth and mastery goals set, as well as desired state test results for our students.

“As teachers, we are given the latitude to execute our own visions, creativity, and methods to meet those goals. I’m quite sure I speak for all teachers in saying our job is most enjoyable when we see pessimism turn to excitement and the fruition of all of our hard work in the form of student achievement.”

Varnado said being chosen Teacher of the Year at Vicksburg Intermediate by her peers validates that “I am doing my job well and that I made the right choice to pursue a teaching career.
“I found out at the end of a long, tiring workday as we were leaving and my spirit was immediately lifted! I think I was smiling in my sleep that night. I work with, and for, a great group of people, which is a major factor in my returning to VIS every year.”

The Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon Feb. 20. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

Varnado said being chosen the top educator comes with expectations or even greater excellence to inspire other educators.

“One should be knowledgeable enough and gracious enough to reach out to those teachers struggling to find their way and handle the many demands of their job,” Varnado said. “I would like to do just that, especially for first year teachers.”