Starkville Resident Named Mississippi’s 2019 Parent of the Year

Leslie Fye, 2019 Mississippi Parent of the Year

JACKSON, Miss. – Leslie Fye, a mother of two children in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, was named the 2019 Mississippi Parent of the Year.

Nominated by the school district as a fierce champion for every student, teacher, and family in the Starkville Oktibbeha School District, Fye’s infectious energy and enthusiasm are fueled by her passion for public education.

“I love Mississippi. It is my personal mission to impact my sweet state in a way that will lift us out of the legacy of the last in everything. I believe the most powerful way to do that is to improve public education for ALL children, from the most gifted to the most vulnerable,” Fye said.

Fye also is instrumental in annual fundraising activities for Starkville High School. In the past year she’s served as the PTO class representative for Starkville High School and Armstrong Middle School, and she is currently the president of the Starkville Foundation for Public Education – an organization that raises money to fund grants for teachers to support innovative learning projects and experiences for the district’s students. This year, the foundation raised over $10,000.

Fye has been named Parent of the Year at Starkville High School two years in a row and most recently Parent of the Year for the district. She is known for her great service in the school district and in the community. These roles have helped her build relationships with students, teachers and parents while working on special projects in our schools. In 2016 she helped form the Mississippi Public Education Pac (MSPEPAC), because she believes the best way to change the culture, funding problems and policy in public education is to change the level of support and understanding of our state legislators.

Research has repeatedly shown that parental involvement is a critical factor determining the academic success of students.  As part of the annual Parent of the Year program, the Mississippi Department of Education asks each district to select an outstanding parent who has made a significant impact on school improvement efforts in the school district.

The committee reviewed several applications submitted by school districts. As a result, the committee selects a Parent of the Year from each of the four congressional districts. From those four district winners, the 2019 State Parent of the Year is determined.

Parent of the Year Finalists

The Congressional District 1 finalist is Kimberly Jeffares, who was nominated by the Tupelo Public School District for her commitment to supporting public education and showing a true example of what parental involvement means. She has two children, one who currently attends school in the Tupelo Public School District.

The Congressional District 2 finalist is Carrie Handley Miley, who was nominated by the Clinton Public School District for having true passion for the community and the well-being of all students, not just her own. She has four children, three who currently attend schools in the Clinton Public School District.

The Congressional District 4 finalist is Terri Lichlyter, who was nominated by the Petal School District for her positive attitude and love for people. She has two children who are currently attending Petal School District.