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Redwood’s Ming makes her classroom a ‘safe haven for my students’

This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, featuring each of the Educator of the Year nominees.


JoLee Ming has made it her life’s work giving children the very best start to their educational life. For more than 30 years, beginning in 1986, Ming has taught just one thing — kindergarten.

“We must teach our students the academic skills they need to be successful in school and in life,” Ming, a kindergarten teacher at Redwood Elementary School, said. “However, it is also our responsibility as educators to teach our students the social skills they need to be successful.

“I strive to make my classroom a safe haven for my students where they can make mistakes without fear of being humiliated and where they can develop relationships with other students and teachers.”

Ming is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year Award.

The Chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 17. 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.

Ming, a 1981 graduate of Warren Central High School, earned a degree in general studies from Hinds Junior College in 1983 before completing her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985.

She began her teaching career at Clinton Park Elementary School in 1986, before teaching kindergarten at First Baptist Church in Vicksburg in 1991. In 1994, she returned to Clinton Park Elementary, where she remained through the 2015 school year. In 2015, she taught at Sherman Avenue Elementary School before moving to Redwood in 2016.

She has also been a board member for Jacob’s Ladder since 2016.

In her Educator of the Year application, Ming said she teaches because “I can make a difference in a child’s life.” And that is something she has done now for 34 years.

“Kindergarten students are just beginning to learn how to work cooperatively in groups and how to ‘get along’ with each other,” Ming said. “Many students come from homes where they are criticized and/or teased or hear others being criticized and or teased. Many students come from homes where they are spoken ‘at’ and not ‘to.’

“Students must learn that their words have power,” she said. “Their words have the power to build up and the power to tear down.”

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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