CPSD Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Ard
Jennifer Ard
Jennifer Ard’s students are a big reason why Sumner HillJunior High School is the highest-performing school in Mississippi.
Ard is the Clinton Public SchoolDistrict’s 2011-12 Teacher of the Year. She teaches transition to algebra andAlgebra I at Sumner Hill.
“Almost every student that I teach has failed at least onegrade in the past, and some have failed two,” Ard said. “The ones who have notfailed grade level struggle immensely with mathematics. … These learningproblems make success for my students different from those in another classroomsetting. My students eventually do master the objectives; it just takes some ofthem longer to do so than the rest of the class.
“I never leave them behind.”
State tests and rankings don’t just take into account thegifted students; all students must perform well for a school to rank at thetop.
“With a Quality of Distribution Index score of 257, SumnerHill is easily at the top of the rankings of Mississippi’s public schools,”said Dr. Phil Burchfield, CPSD superintendent. “Students at the ninth-gradeschool far outpaced their peers statewide on the Algebra subject area test,largely due to the high quality of Sumner Hill’s teachers. We are proud of Mrs.Ard and her students, and honored to have such an outstanding Teacher of theYear.”
Ard has taught at Sumner Hill since 2007. Prior to coming toClinton, she taught Algebra II at Nettleton High School.
She holds an Associateof Arts degree from Hinds Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree inelementary education from Mississippi State University and a Master ofEducation degree in secondary education from Belhaven University.
“Her passion for teaching is evident in every aspect of herwork here at Sumner Hill,” said Principal Austin Brown. “Inside the classroom,her devotion, creativity and care for each individual student enables her toreach students at various levels and move them to where they need to be inorder to achieve at the highest possible levels.”
During the fall semester, each of the Clinton Public SchoolDistrict’s nine schools chooses a Teacher of the Year to represent theirbuilding. Of these nine school winners, a district Teacher of the Year isselected by a five-judge panel of education administrators from other schooldistricts and local universities.Teachers are interviewed by this panel, and must also submita resume, letter of recommendation and a written philosophy of education. Thedistrict Teacher of the Year represents CPSD in the state Teacher of the Yearprogram in the spring, sponsored by the Teacher Center at the MississippiDepartment of Education.
The 2011-12 school winners include:
Cherie Winstead,Clinton Park Elementary School
Cherie Winstead  
Mrs. Winstead is a kindergarten teacher at Clinton Park. Shehas an Associate degree from Hinds Community College and a Bachelor of Sciencedegree in education from Mississippi College.
“Treating others the way you want to be treated is a strongemphasis in my classroom,” she said. “Formal education begins with kindergartenand it is important to build strong foundations for a lifelong love of learningat this early age.”
Said Clinton Park Principal Suzanne Hollingshead: “Herclassroom is filled with instructional best practices that range from hands-onlearning activities to individualized instruction. There are many greatteachers but Mrs. Winstead is clearly a shining star.”
Carolyn Lynchard,Northside Elementary School
Carolyn Lynchard
Mrs. Lynchard is a third-grade teacher at Northside. She hasa Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Belhaven Universityand a certification in special education from Mississippi College. She is aNational Board Certified Teacher.
“Many of our students come to school with stereotypicalimpressions of former teachers and authority,” she said. “If I make anencouraging impression on a student’s life in the beginning of the school year,I will have a student who will positively change their attitude and behavior.”
Said Northside Principal Joy Tyner: “Every child growsacademically, socially and emotionally in her classroom because it is expected.Mrs. Lynchard scaffolds her students toward independent success by givingsupport and then gradually pulling it away. She knows how to create anatmosphere where everyone wins and every child is part of the team.”
Stephanie Nervis,Eastside Elementary School
Stephanie Nervis
Ms. Nervis teaches fourth-grade language arts at Eastside.She has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Alcorn StateUniversity, a Master’s in elementary education from Delta State University anda Specialist’s in elementary education from Mississippi College.
“As I look at my students, I see the future lookingsuccessful,” she said. “In order to ensure this success, I am constantlyresearching, learning and growing personally so I can be the type of teacherwho is prepared to impart the knowledge my students need to reach their fullestpotential.”
Said Eastside Assistant Principal Syl Burrell: “Mrs. Nervis’strengths are in her knowledge of her subject areas and pacing/presentation ofthe subjects. Her classroom practices have impacted student learning andachievement because she brings real-life application to her classroom.”
Mitzi Saint Sing,Lovett Elementary School
Mitzi Saint Sing
Mrs. Saint Sing teaches sixth-grade math at Lovett. Sheattended Hinds Community College, and has a Bachelor of Science degree inelementary education from Mississippi State University.
“I try to make each math skill something they can apply inthe real world,” she said. “I want my students to not only be thoroughlyprepared for the next grade level, but also to be able to use the skills theyuse in real life situations.”
Said Lovett Principal Richard Burge: “Mrs. Saint Sing has atrue love for her students and for teaching. She praises her students often andkeeps a positive atmosphere in her classroom. She goes the extra mile byscheduling time during and outside the school day to provide additional supportfor any student.”
Tammy Carney, ClintonJunior High School
Tammy Carney
Mrs. Carney is director of choral music at Clinton JuniorHigh. She has an Associate degree in music from Jones County Junior College anda Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Mississippi.
“A quality music education program provides a source of enjoymentwhich enhances the quality of life for an individual from childhood throughadulthood,” she said. “Participating in musical activities such as choir, bandor orchestra can provide the opportunity for visible success and achievement inschool and the community.”
Said CJHS Principal Anthony Goins: “Mrs. Carney has thechallenge of instructing seventh- and eighth-grade boys and mixed choirs. Shehas taken this challenge and exceeds all expectations. … Her show choir hasbeen named Grand Champion at every competition they have attended.”
Barbie Ferguson,Clinton High School
Barbie Ferguson
Mrs. Ferguson teaches Career Pathway Experience, CooperativeEducation I and II, Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at Clinton High School.She has an Associate degree in paralegal studies from Northwest CommunityCollege, a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Delta State Universityand a degree in vocational education from Mississippi State University. She isa National Board Certified Teacher.
“Teaching is a profession that takes work and skill tomaster,” she said. “It takes time to develop an eye for teenagers in trouble,to know how to encourage and to learn how to correct students with respect andlove.”
Said CHS principal, Dr. Eddie Peasant: “Mrs. Ferguson is oneof the most enthusiastic teachers at CHS. Students describe her as, ‘theteacher who cares about us beyond our high school career.’ She has a passionfor teaching and encourages students to excel beyond their potential.”
Cindy Ables, CHSCareer Complex
Cindy Ables
Ms. Ables is a teacher and Student Services Coordinator atthe CHS Career Complex. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in family andconsumer science from the University of Mississippi, an Associate degree inparalegal studies from Hinds Community College and a Master’s degree inDyslexia Therapy from Mississippi College. She is a National Board CertifiedTeacher.
“Accepting students for who they are and where they are byembracing their uniqueness is a positive first step in building relationshipsof trust,” she said. “It’s important for them to trust that we respect them andare their advocate.”
Said CHS Career Complex Director Margera Harris: “Ms. Ablesis known for her positive rapport with students who attend classes at theCareer Complex. She provides assistance to students regardless of theirachievement level and academic area of need. Many of our students have beensuccessful at passing subject area tests due to the remediation andencouragement that they received from Ms. Ables.”
Anna Handy, Clinton AlternativeSchool
Anna Handy
Mrs. Handy is the exceptional education at ClintonAlternative School. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree,both from Jackson State University.
“Every child can learn if given the opportunity,” she said.“Students should be continually encouraged to solve everyday problems as theygo through school in order to face whatever they may encounter in the realworld. Through the development of relationships that are honest, open andrespectful, students will know that I understand them and accept them for whothey are.”
SaidClinton Alternative School Principal Bobby Hathorn: “Mrs. Handy always respondswith sensible reactions in all circumstances. She has the challenge of workingwith special needs students and keeping them on the right track to completingtheir educational goals. She is one of our most dedicated employees.”