LAUREL, MS. (WDAM) - Laurel Middle School is where you'll find teacher, Leah McCullum. She works to make sure her sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are reading at their grade level.
According to McCullum, "They are like at that point where they are in between being an elementary student and a high school student. They are trying to figure out their point in life, exactly where they want to be and I love doing that and teaching with them."
Her knack for shaping young minds has certainly been recognized by her colleagues. McCullum was honored for being the school district's Teacher of the Year for her work in the classroom, with school clubs and also for her community involvement.
McCullum is in good company, sharing district honors with Laurel's Administrator of the Year, Ken Culpepper. Culpepper is Mason Elementary School's Principal. It's a position he has held for two years.
Starting in January, Culpepper visited the homes and parents of his school's third, fourth, and fifth grade students. He selected those grades because they are each tested by the state to measure their academic knowledge.
"Amazingly after I started my visits and started getting such wonderful, positive feedback from parents, my commitment was to finish the entire third, fourth and fifth grade and we were able to do that by the last of March," explained Culpepper.
In total, Culpepper visited 238 homes, hoping to repeat and maybe exceed the progress students made on last years state tests. Both Culpepper and McCullum are now competing for the state's Administrator and Teacher of the Year honors.