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2020-21 Teachers of the Year!

Congratulations to our Teachers of the Year! 

 Pitts Katherine Pitts, Biloxi High School
Mrs. Pitts has been a part of the Indian Nation since 2015. When teaching Algebra III, Dual Credit Algebra, and Dual Credit Trigonometry, she holds her students to the very highest standards and at the same time provides them with outstanding instruction and support in these very difficult subjects.
Here are just a few of the great things Mrs. Pitts' colleagues have to say:
• Mrs. Pitts is a great example of a caring and helpful educator to not only her students but also to her fellow educators. She is such a ray of sunshine and always there to answer questions. She truly is Biloxi's best!
• She is extremely helpful to anybody who needs it! She also is a very joyful person, very inclusive, supportive, and thoughtful! All the students love her and so do the teachers!
• She is continuously positive, encouraging, and shows exceptional leadership to everyone in our department.

Jessica Moss, BHS Career Tech Center

Mrs. Moss began her teaching career as a special education teacher at Horn Lake Intermediate School. In her first year of teaching, she recognized there was a critical student need for more direct instruction and intervention. She created and led the first after school tutoring program for special education students for the school. Cooking has always been a passion for Mrs. Moss, so when a culinary arts position became available, she took a chance and went for it! In 2016, she relocated to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to serve as the Culinary Arts instructor for the Biloxi High Career Tech Center. Mrs. also serves as a sponsor for the student organization, FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America). In this organization, she leads students though projects aimed at further developing already present leadership skills.
Mrs. Moss says, "I feel fortunate that I can help equip my students with true life skills that will benefit them their entire life: cooking. I am in a position to guide these students through real-world life experiences (planning, budgeting, leading, job security, caring for family/self, etc.) and, for that, I am forever grateful. I believe all students can learn and all students can shine. As a teacher, my hope is always to instill a confidence within each student that empowers them to go beyond even where they dreamed/hoped they could. Making a long-lasting, deep and meaningful impression with each and every student is a goal I set for myself each year. Once this goal is met, the sky is the limit in reaching our youth! Connection, empowerment, growth. Those are my goals."

Julie Massey, Biloxi Junior High

Ms. Massey has been an educator for 31 years and is a true asset to the Indian Nation. She teaches Cyber Foundations I & 2, and a few of her accolades include: Cyber Foundations Advisory Committee leader, TSA Sponsor, Leadership Team member, School Wide Plan Team member, Amazon Future Engineer Teacher, Learning Blade Champion, CSTA Board Member, MECA member Subcontractor for Mississippi State University RCU, Facilitator, Department Head for Cyber Foundations 1 and 2 and AXI Google Classroom Training.
Mrs. Massey says, "My goal is for every student to know that they are an asset to our school and community at large. I want to help our students feel like they belong, that someone cares for them, and that I am happy to see them every day. I also want to help students realize their potential by helping them learn a marketable skill, which I am doing by teaching the basics of word programming, spreadsheets, presentations, typing, coding, problem solving, collaboration, communication, research, and many more real world skills. I also help students learn about real world skills, such
as financial literacy, including how to balance a budget, smart shopping, writing skills, and conflict resolution."
Mrs. Massey supports other teachers and includes cross-curricular education whenever possible. She has brought math, English, science, history, health. music, art, and physical education into her class, so our students see the big picture and can make connections between each course. Mrs. Massey exemplifies the spirit of Biloxi Schools!

Colleen Kelly, Biloxi Upper Elementary

This school year, Miss Kelly has demonstrated great leadership among her peers. With the impact of Covid and reassignment of teachers to minimize student movement, 5th grade math and science departments merged into one wherein Colleen Kelly led the charge.
Her colleagues stated, "Colleen has done a remarkable job leading our 5th grade math and science team this school year. She goes above and beyond for not just her own students but for all 5th grade students. Colleen is a perfect example of a teacher who cares for the betterment of our school as a whole. She strives to build a relationship with each of her students, fostering not only their academic needs but also their social and emotional skills. Colleen goes the extra mile without the expectation of any praise or recognition." Another colleague added, " She is incredibly knowledgeable with every aspect of her job. Whenever I need help with a technology question or any question, really, she is my go-to person. She handles everyone's questions with grace and friendliness and has more patience than anyone I've met. She does all of this and more with a constant smile on her face and with a positive attitude."
Miss Kelly has three beautiful nieces and one adorable nephew and enjoys spending time with her family and attending all sorts of sporting events including the Saints, Pelicans, Shuckers, and LSU games! She currently coaches track and field and continues to enjoy playing both indoor and beach volleyball. She also coaches Biloxi Upper's afterschool volleyball club on her own accord without compensation because she knows the benefits of extending this to students.

Michael Goodwin, Center for New Opportunities

Mr. Goodwin teaches Social Studies at CNO and serves as the 8th grade boys basketball coach. Principal Schmermund says, "Michael Goodwin is an exemplary professional who projects excellence in everything he does. Mr. Goodwin faces everyday challenges with a positive mindset and passion that is both unmatched and contagious. Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Goodwin honorably served our country in the US Air Force. He continually collaborates with his colleagues at CNO, BJH and BHS to make sure that his students are successful, and he cares as much about their academic success as he does their success as an individual. Each day starts with Mr. Goodwin taking the time to tell each of his students that they are capable, intelligent young adults. He makes it a point to compliment each student in an effort to start their day on a positive note. Saying that Mr. Goodwin goes above and beyond for students would not even begin to scratch the surface of what he does to help students reach their potential. In a year with so much uncertainty, one thing that's certain is Mr. Goodwin's ability to put a smile on his coworker's faces and to give his students a great start to their day. For these reasons, we are proud to congratulate Mr. Michael Goodwin as CNO’s Teacher of the Year."



Marie Davis, Back Bay Elementary 

Here are just a few of the great things that we've heard about Mrs. Davis:
-Mrs. Davis loves her students and they love her. She has great relationships with her colleagues and parents as well. She always has great creative ideas and shares them with others.
-Mrs. Davis is extremely loving with her students while still maintaining high expectations. She is quick to lend a helping hand when needed.
-She is one of the teachers sought out for advice by fellow teachers about successful strategies she uses to make sure her students are mastering the skills they need for success.
-Mrs. Davis comes to work every day with a positive attitude and an eagerness to make a difference in the lives of her students.

Tearra Beasley, Gorenflo Elementary

Mrs. Beasley is a fourth grade math teacher at Gorenflo where she has been teaching for seven years.
Dr. Robertson says, "Daily she displays dedication to the teaching profession and passion for student learning. Her consistent efforts to ensure that all students are successful shows in their academic growth and performance on state testing each year. Mrs. Beasley makes learning fun as she implements hands-on activities, including several STEM activities, to further enhance student learning. Mrs. Beasley reports to work every day ready to give 100% despite the challenges educators face daily. Mrs. Beasley has been traveling back and forth to Florida with her daughter for multiple, extensive surgeries. Each time she goes, she continues to provide virtual instruction to her students and attend team meetings. There is never a complaint or an excuse. Mrs. Beasley is truly the epitome of Gorenflo STRONG!

Halima Welch, Nichols Elementary 

Principal Nance says, "Halima Welch’s true calling (without a doubt) is teaching and touching the lives of students. Whether she’s writing an Individualized Educational Plan for each of her variant learners or assisting a fellow colleague with his or her instructional practices, she is always focused on improving student achievement for the entire school. Ms. Welch has also served in the following school-wide capacities: Chair of the Sunshine Committee, School Leadership Member, Co-chair of the Early Literacy Carnival Committee, Red Ribbon Committee Member, and Coordinator of the Read Across America Campaign. Additionally, Halima is active in her church and community. Currently, she leads the Pre-K and Kindergarten Department at St. Theresa Catholic Church. She also participates in efforts to raise awareness for Autism and Cancer Research within the community. Ms. Welch realizes that each student has unique qualities, and she has discovered that consistent, individualized instruction will make an invaluable difference in all children. In fact, she spends countless hours at the end of each day, preparing individual manipulative bins for each student based on his or her specific needs. Everyone appears to display great respect for Halima and the remarkable job she does with students each day she enters the doors at Nichols. Ms. Welch is definitely an extraordinary educator, whose performance is truly worthy of this highest recognition!"


Amanda Eppes, North Bay Elementary

Among her many strengths as an elementary teacher, Mrs. Eppes excels in working with students with special needs. Mrs. Eppes goes above and beyond to ensure they have every opportunity to grow and learn in the general education classroom with their same aged peers. She is a firm believer in the inclusion of students with disabilities in all facets of the classroom. She is always researching and discovering new techniques and strategies to help these students excel, regardless of their disability. In her classroom, all students learn the critical skills they need in order to be successful. All of her students make huge gains on diagnostic, summative and formative assessments every year. Prior to Covid-19, Mrs. Eppes frequently brought in community members to teach her students firsthand information in areas such as finance and fire safety. She plans to continue this practice as soon as it is safe and Covid restrictions are lifted. She volunteers for community events such as the annual Biloxi 5K and family fun nights. Mrs. Eppes is truly a blessing for all students and staff at North Bay Elementary.

Blakely Fore, Popp's Ferry Elementary

Mrs. Fore is a 4th grade ELA teacher and has been a member of the Popp’s Ferry family since 2013. She was honored as an Extraordinary Teacher for Curriculum Associates for the 2019-2020 school year.
Here are just a few of the great things that Mrs. Fore’s peers had to say about her:
-Mrs. Fore is very organized and is always trying to prepare our students for the next level, teaching and doing projects on easy methods for students!!!
-Mrs. Fore is an awesome teacher and is very dedicated.
-Mrs. Fore is an excellent teacher! She is dedicated to improving the educational experience for ALL students. She is a fantastic mentor and team player. She assisted me greatly in my first year of teaching and continues still today. Her commitment to education is shown through her continuing education. She recently completed her National Boards and is continuing currently with her specialist.