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North Mississippi teachers stand in the spotlight

(Susan Parker)
(Susan Parker)
Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 12/05/2013 7:42 pm
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) — Sherrill Wiygul knows what it feels like to stand in the spotlight. She is among those who are members of an elite group — the Mississippi Hall of Master Teachers.

She remembers the early days well.

"A lot of unexpecteds when you're a first year teacher," Wiygul said.

Wiygul is among the inductees returning to honor those following in their footsteps like Tupelo Middle School science teacher Holly Bailey.

"This is really nice, and it does feel good to be recognized for something that I love doing," Bailey said.

That feeling is shared by Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science music educator Dawn Barham.

"It's one of those crowning moments in your career to be honored like this, especially by other educators," Barham said.

Four North Mississippi teachers were nominated by their peers through what is described as a strenuous process.

Now that the process is complete, teachers have one final task to complete — mentoring the teachers of tomorrow.

Young teacher interns are participating in the Institute for New Teachers, which was being held in conjunction with the Mississippi Hall of Master Teachers ceremony.

"What better way, what greater encouragement can we give a new teacher than to have that opportunity to talk with someone who does it so well," said Sue Jolly-Smith, the dean of the education and human sciences department at the Mississippi University for Women.

"It's good to talk to somebody that's been doing it for so long that can give you good advice and learn from them," teacher intern Katie Chunn said.

In all, 17 teachers were nominated.
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