TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Tori East’s classroom works to grow together

Published 4:00 am Friday, February 25, 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.

Tori East, a 5th-grade math and science teacher at Bovina Elementary, said her students grow and work together.

“My students are taught that in our classroom, we work together in order to grow together,” East said. 

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East 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. 

East began her teaching career at Beechwood Elementary as a third through 6th-grade resource teacher in the spring of 2017. Starting in the fall of 2017, she began teaching 5th grade at Beechwood Elementary. In 2019, East began teaching at Bovina Elementary as a 5th-grade math and science teacher. 

East received an associate degree in elementary education from Hinds Community College in 2013. She then earned a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2016 from Mississippi State University. Currently, she is in the process of obtaining a master’s degree in school counseling from Mississippi College. 

East mentioned in her Educator of the Year application that the traditional whole-group learning style is only effective for a small group of students. Instead, she said she wants her lessons to involve students helping other students. She stated that she creates learning activities that allow students, usually in groups, to practice what they have been taught. She also mentioned that these activities range from games to worksheets and one-on-one instruction to address all learning styles. 

“Giving students the opportunity to have fun while they learn, teach and grow together influences students by showing them school is not for one style of learner,” she said.