Meridian Star

January 12, 2013

Meridian High math teacher makes top grade in district

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A Meridian High School math teacher has been selected as the Meridian Public School District Teacher of the Year.

    Dr. Alvin Taylor, superintendent, arrived unexpectedly in Amanda Hanegan's classroom on Friday to present her with the award.

    "Oh wow. What a surprise," Hanegan said upon being presented a plaque and bouquet of flowers. "I certainly wasn't expecting this. It's such an honor. There are so many fine teachers in our district. It's a pleasure to work here."

    Taylor, along with Victor Hubbard, principal of MHS, along with other school officials congratulated her.

    "We appreciate what you have done here and we also appreciate the support of your administrators," Taylor said.

    In her 17th year of teaching, Hanegan teaches various math classes including Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Calculus.

    "Amanda Hanegan was selected because of the outstanding job that she does on a daily basis," Hubbard said. "She's dedicated to her students, she is dedicated to this school. Anything that we ask her to do, she does it with a smile. She's a team player."

    Hanegan said she did not originally intend to become a teacher when she entered college, but she changed her mind later.

    "I had worked with some students at a science and math camp one summer and I enjoyed working with them," Hanegan said. "I changed my major and became a teacher after that."

    She enjoys the pace of teaching high school students.

    "It's something new every day. It's never boring and I enjoy working with students," Hanegan said. "Teenagers are great. It is hard work every day, but it's such gratifying work. You leave at the end of the day with a good feeling that you've tried to help students become successful citizens."

    Shevonda Truman, MHS assistant principal and math instructional leader, said Hanegan exemplifies all of the qualities of a great teacher, noting that she has a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude, rarely misses work, is always punctual, is a team player, and truly cares for her students.

    Hanegan serves as the co-chair of the Algebra II and Geometry departments and assists with the Subject Area Testing Program Parent Rallies, Math “Boot Camps,” and ACT preparation.

    “Ms. Hanegan’s classroom fosters an excellent environment for learning, and her students are engaged in instruction at all times,” Hubbard said. “Her love for math and students is evident.”

    Hanegan will also represent MPSD in the State Teacher of the Year program hosted by the Teacher Center at the Mississippi Department of Education.

    “We are proud of Ms. Hanegan and appreciate all of her hard work and dedication, not only at Meridian High School, but for the overall well-being of the District,” Taylor said.

    Each MPSD school also names a Teacher of the Year to represent their school. Other teachers recognized are:

    Crestwood Elementary: Kristen Barnes, 5th grade Math and Science

    T.J. Harris Elementary: Carla Desmond, 4th grade Language Arts

    Oakland Heights Elementary: Dena Patterson, 5th grade Math

    Parkview Elementary: Bettie Davis, 1st grade

    Poplar Springs Elementary: Beth Lang, Kindergarten

    West Hills Elementary: Sharon Henry, 3rd grade

    Carver Middle: Tashna Carter, 8th grade Learning Strategies-Reading

    Magnolia Middle: Amy Grady, 8th grade Science

    Northwest Middle: Ravene Mitchell, 8th grade Language Arts

    Meridian High: Amanda Hanegan, Math

    Ross Collins Career and Technical: Hope Webb, Health Science