The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and the Office of Teaching and Leading announced that Dr. Howard Savage Jr., principal of Quitman High School in the Quitman School District, has been selected as the 2018 Mississippi Administrator of the Year (MAOY), and Whitney Drewrey, 3rd – 5th grade teacher of Mild/Moderate and Severe/Profound students at Lafayette Upper Elementary School, Lafayette School District, has been selected as the 2018 Mississippi Teacher of the Year (MTOY).
“Mississippi public education has achieved unprecedented outcomes over the last several years and it’s due to the commitment and expertise of outstanding professionals like our honorees this year. I congratulate them on being selected as exemplary representatives of the exceptional educators we have throughout the state,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
Each school district selects a District Teacher of the Year and District Administrator of the Year. Following an intensive selection process, four congressional district winners are chosen from district award recipients. Finally, one teacher earns the MTOY recognition and one administrator earns the MAOY recognition following an interview with finalists.
The Mississippi Administrator of the Year program honors an administrator who demonstrates superior ability to inspire teachers, to employ exemplary leadership practices and to participate as an active member of the community. The recipient receives a $5,000 stipend and shares expertise through various presentations and activities for the improvement of education in the state.
Savage began his career as a classroom teacher before moving into assistant principal and principal roles in Mississippi schools. His personal philosophy of education and teaching is “self-reflection is the key to interpersonal growth.” He believes that by making personal adjustments, students, teacher and administrators can excel. Through personal adjustments among staff and students in the district, Savage created a recipe for success.
“These strategies were the framework in achieving my most rewarding professional experience as an administrator, leading Quitman High School from a three-year consecutive D rating on the Mississippi Accountability Model to a B rating,” Savage said.
The Mississippi Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary teachers in the state. The award recipient also receives a $5,000 stipend and will share expertise through various presentations and activities. Drewrey will represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition. In addition, she will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet the President and First Lady and will participate in a Rose Garden recognition ceremony at the White House.
Drewrey, in her 15th year of teaching, said her greatest accomplishment was when she left the “comfort zone of teaching science and reinvented herself as a teacher to reach a population she could better serve” – students with disabilities.
“My belief is that all students can learn if nurtured and placed in the right environment. If they feel safe and comfortable, if they make mistakes and learn from the mistakes, they will learn,” she said.