GUIZERIX: Thank an Educator this week

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

It’s been a busy week already for our education community and we’re only halfway through.

With the news of Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy’s retirement breaking on Monday and today’s Educator of the Year Luncheon hosted by the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce, it’s safe to say there’s a lot going on.

Add to that the upcoming winter break in our public schools and the stress that comes with any holiday celebrated on a school day, and I’m sure our teachers are feeling more than a little burnt out.

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It’s a sentiment I know all too well as the child of a teacher. Witnessing her highs and lows as an educator over 20 years of my life has given me an appreciation for those entrusted with the minds of children.

Teachers are often underappreciated, expected to overcompensate for systemic shortcomings and, especially in Mississippi, underpaid. Taking all that into consideration, it always makes me happy when events like the Educator of the Year Luncheon come around, honoring the best of the best at each of our schools.

The accomplishments of classroom teachers also came to mind when looking over Shealy’s list of accomplishments on Monday following his retirement announcement.

From the district’s rising letter grade to increasing the graduation rate by 34 percent over the last 10 years, it is amazing what has been accomplished under Shealy’s leadership. Make no mistake, it takes a strong and inventive leader to execute these changes and make measurable improvements.

But credit also belongs to the men and women in the classroom — the ones who carried out the marching orders and met each goal set for them.

The reason our schools are so successful isn’t due to the efforts of one person or even one specialized team. It’s a collaborative effort in the name of improving the lives of children, the quality of life in our community and the opportunities available for us all.

In today’s world, educators are expected to be more than teachers. They must also be counselors, parental figures, snack providers, bodyguards, mediators, personal shoppers, advocates and mind-readers.

Behind the leadership of Shealy and others over the last 10 years, our educators have met and exceeded every expectation on the path to creating a better school system.

So if you see a teacher this week, give them a personal word of thanks. I know I will.