TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Carol Pace helps students build responsible habits

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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 nominees for teacher of the year honors.

Carol Pace, a first-grade teacher at Porter’s Chapel Academy, works to help her students build responsible habits. 

“Each student has an assigned job that is ongoing on a daily basis that teaches responsibility,” Pace said.

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Pace 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 at the chamber luncheon, which has been rescheduled to Mar. 1. 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.

Pace began teaching as a student teacher in a first-grade class during the fall of 1982. Starting in 1983, she taught at Pine Hills Academy in Gloster, Miss. for the first, fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Pace began teaching fourth grade in 1985 at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Zachary, La. In 1986, she taught fifth grade at Vicksburg Middle School. Then in 1989, Pace taught first, second and fifth grade at Grove Street Elementary. Starting in 1999, she taught at Sherman Avenue as a first-grade teacher and in 2003 became a Lead Teacher at Dana Road Elementary. Beginning in 2014, Pace joined the staff at Porter’s Chapel Academy as a first-grade teacher.

Pace received an Associate Degree of Arts in elementary education from Jones County Junior College in 1980. At the University of Mississippi, Pace earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education in 1982. She received a Master’s degree in 1998 for elementary education from Mississippi College. In 2008, she earned an Education Specialist in educational leadership at Mississippi College. 

Pace said her students learn responsibility by completing various assignments throughout the school year. Some of these assignments include giving every student the opportunity to lead a math meeting, creating a classroom store to teach money skills and students taking their favorite stuffed animal for a vet visit. 

Her students also learn to be responsible for their surroundings. Pace’s lesson on Ecology teaches students about taking care of the Earth, along with being able to identify various organisms. 

“We pick up trash, plant flowers and we engage in nature walks to identify trees, other plants and animals as well as their importance in nature,” she said.