Cindy Wilkins always knew she wanted to be a teacher. “It was either math or music,” she said. Today, she is a teacher of eighth-grade pre-algebra and algebra and director of the Guntown Middle School choir. And she is Teacher of the Year for Lee County Schools, named so Tuesday afternoon during the county’s school board meeting. A native of Starkville, Wilkins earned her undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University and her graduate degree in music education at Memphis State University. Today, she lives in Saltillo with husband Walt and daughters Cassidy, 10, and Kieredith, 15. Wilkins has taught at Guntown a total of eight years, three years back a while and most recently five years. Lee County Schools Superintendent Jimmy Weeks explained the nominating and selection process for Teacher of the Year is lengthy and requires “a lot of paperwork.” An outside committee then selects the winner. Nominees from the district’s schools received a floral bouquet and engraved glass paperweights. Wilkins received a large bouquet, a plaque and checks totaling more than $1,000. One check for $1,000 came from the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund. Lindsay Brett, principal of Plantersville Middle School, was named the district’s Administrator of the Year. She is serving her first year in the position but was assistant principal for the two prior years. Both Wilkins and Brett will now be entered into the Mississippi teacher and administrator contests.
The teachers nominated from each school are:
Guntown Middle School: Cindy Wilkins Improvement Center: Cydney Petty Mooreville Elementary School: Meredith Philley Mooreville Middle School: Grant Martin Mooreville High School: Jennifer Gray Plantersville Middle School: Deborah Mahaffey Saltillo Elementary School: Krista Weems Saltillo High School: Suzanne Bingham Saltillo Primary School: Tracie Newell Shannon Elementary School: Shalon Clark-Ruth Shannon Middle School: Shelia Garrett Shannon High School: Danielle Kilgore Shannon Primary School: Tammy Stults Verona Elementary School: Ashton Kent The district’s new National Board Certified teachers were also recognized. They are: Amanda Carpenter, Saltillo Elementary Brooke Marlar, Saltillo Elementary Lissa Doorenbos, Saltillo Elementary Diane Floyd, Guntown Middle Denise Carter, Mooreville Elementary