When Jennifer Moore made a career change from social work to teaching 15 years ago, she vowed to always make an impact in her classroom.
While holding back tears, the Northeast Lauderdale High teacher was humbled to be recognized for her efforts Tuesday.
“I was in complete shock,” said Moore, the Lauderdale County School District's teacher of the year. “Special education is very involved and very challenging. I love every part of it, but a lot of times special education teachers like myself just go unnoticed.”
Moore, a Meridian native, teaches a group of students in grades 9-12 in a self-contained classroom. She said the one thing she enjoys about teaching is being in the classroom with her students and making an impact in their lives. Teaching also allows Moore to continue working with children with special needs, which she also did as a social worker.
“I just love that population," she said. "I just have a heart for that population."
Moore credits her success to her colleagues at Northeast and her strong spiritual faith.
“I can definitely say the Lord put it there," she said. "He arranged the steps, because I didn't know that 15 years ago I would still be there (Northeast) 15 years later."
Rodgers named administrator of the year
West Lauderdale High Principal Shane Rodgers was surprised when he was named the district's administrator of the year.
“I'm very honored and very humbled by this and I appreciate it,” Rodgers said. “It was something I ever really expected.”
Rodgers, who has been at West Lauderdale the past five years, has been an educator for 17 years, 11 of those years in administration. He previously worked in Desoto County and in Kosciusko.
He credits the dedicated teachers and staff at West Lauderdale for the recognition, saying that they are the ones on the front lines making sure students are successful.
“I love West Lauderdale and I love being here," he said. "So I will continue to try to help this school and the community to be the best it can be."
Moore and Rodgers will compete with other educators across the state for the title of teacher and administrator of the year for the state of Mississippi.