Petal teacher named finalist for Mississippi "Teacher of the Year"

Petal teacher named finalist for Mississippi "Teacher of the Year"
Luke Daniels. Source: WDAM
Source: WDAM
Source: WDAM
Source: WDAM
Source: WDAM

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - A Petal math teacher is one of five finalists for Mississippi's "Teacher of the Year" award.

The Mississippi Department of Education announced the finalists on March 23 for the 2017 Administrator of the Year and the 2017 Teacher of the Year.  One of the five finalists in Petal Upper Elementary School's Luke Daniels.

Daniels is a sixth-grade math teacher at PUES.  He also has experience as a high school algebra and geometry teacher.   Daniels said he is humbled to be named a finalist and said the honor is really a group effort with all his fellow teachers.

"The mission of the Petal School District is to empower all students to thrive. That's what we wake up to do everyday," said Daniels.

Daniels said he is humbled to be named a finalist and said the honor is really a group effort with all his fellow teachers.

"Every bit of success that I might have enjoyed as a teacher can really be traced back to the team and the network that I work with everyday," said Daniels.

Daniels shared a key to his success in the classroom.

"What I find is important to get kids to enjoy math is to not make it about rules and procedures, but really teach concepts." said Daniels.  "To get them talking, to get them to really consider why things work."

In January, Daniels was named the Petal School District's "Teacher of the Year" out of the five finalists from schools in the district.  He said its the students that make his job so special everyday.

"The kids' energy, it's really just refreshing to be around," Daniels said.  "Especially this grade, fifth and sixth grade, they love every minute of life. It certainly just energizes you to take on the day."

The Mississippi Teacher of the Year program recognizes exemplary teachers in the state. The award recipient will be asked to share expertise through various presentations and activities for the improvement of education. The recipient also will receive a $5,000 stipend and will represent Mississippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The recipients will be announced April 7 at the Jackson Convention Complex.

Teacher of the Year Finalists

  • Charles Yarborough – 11th and 12th grade Social Studies, Mississippi School for Math and Science
  • Cathy Sparks - 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade Math, Science, and Social Studies, Hayes Cooper Center, Cleveland School District
  • Marsha Roeland - 4th and 5th grade Math, Science, and Social Studies, Nanih Waiya Attendance Center, Louisville Municipal School District
  • Luke Daniels – 6th grade Math, Petal Upper Elementary School, Petal School District

The Mississippi Administrator of the Year will also be announced on April 7.  The program honors an administrator who demonstrates superior ability to inspire teachers, employs exemplary leadership practices and participates as an active member of the community.

Administrator of the Year Finalists

  • John Ellison - Houston Middle School, Houston School District
  • Natasha Bates – Dundee Elementary School, Tunica County School District
  • Dr. Jessica Broome – Pearl Junior High School, Pearl Public School District
  • Dr. Vickie Tiblier – Ocean Springs High School, Ocean Springs School District

You can find more information from the Mississippi Department of Education here.