With schools starting back next week, teachers in Montgomery County will be attending an annual Professional Leadership Conference organized by the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District. The conference began today and will conclude tomorrow afternoon.
“This year, we have 27 different trainers holding 50 sessions,” said Dr. Angela Jackson, Federal Programs Assistant for the district.
This is Jackson’s third year to organize the conference, and this year’s theme is “Be THAT Person.”
Jackson said the theme is to encourage local teachers to “be that person you needed as a kid,” be that person other’s strive to be, be that person that goes the extra mile, be that person that loves ALL children, be that person others can count on, be that person that inspires others, and be that person that thinks outside the box.
“Teachers will be able to get free continuing education units (CEUs) for the workshops they attend,” Jackson said. “They will get 1.2 CEUs for attending the conference.”
She explained that all teachers are required a certain amount of continuing education units every five years to hold a teaching license.
“Usually teachers have to pay for the workshops to renew their license,” Jackson said. “They can get free CEUs for attending the conference.”
This year, the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District invited the faculty from Winona Christian School to attend as well.
“[The Winona Christian teachers] are coming on their own time because they are not back to school yet,” Jackson said. “We are looking forward to having them.”
Workshops this year range from classroom management to stress management to reducing behavior issues in the classroom. Workshops will be held simultaneously at Winona Secondary School and Winona Elementary School.
“The teachers can pick and choose what workshops fit their needs,” Jackson said. “We did a needs assessment for teachers, and all of the planning was geared toward what the teachers said they need.”
Presenters at this year’s conference include Dr. Eddie Anderson of the Delta Area Association for Improvement of Schools; Dr. Brian Buck Halter, founder of Buck Wild about Math LLC; Jacqueline Tweatt-Burton, development coordinator at the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Education; Libby Carson, culinary arts instructor at Winona Career and Technical Center; Lauren Childers, associate director of admissions for Programs at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Janie Conway, a consultant with North Mississippi Education Consortium; Becky Dees, Digital Media Technology teacher at Winona Career and Technical Center; Haley DeNoon, field educator for Families First for Mississippi; Mike Guttuso, principal of Winona Secondary School; Patricia Heflin, registered dietitian; Sean Johnson, administrator for Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital; Shannon Matott, professional development coach; Tabitha McCrory, principal of Winona Elementary School; Tan McKinney, professional development coordinator for science with the University of Mississippi; Mark Middleton, plant manager of Screw Conveyor Corporation and school board member; Jeffrey Mitchell, instructor of Communications Technology at Winona Secondary School; Rana Mitchell, Federal Programs Director at WMCSD; Molly Portera, director of the Division of Outreach and Training in the Bureau of Outreach, Planning, and Development at the Mississippi Department of Health; Slade Redwine, workforce development coordinator, Holmes Community College; Timera Rodgers, admission counselor at the University of Mississippi; Nikita Smith, assistant principal at Winona Elementary School; Sue Stidham, director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Council; Dr. Melissa Wiggins, professor of Computer Science and director of Cybersecurity programs at Mississippi College; Dr. Glendscene Williams, director of the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research/associate professor of Finance at Delta State University; and Charlotte Wilson, direct account executive for Renaissance Learning, Inc.
Jackson said the conference is paid for in part by federal funds for professional development, however, most of the trainers are volunteering their time to come to the conference.
Also, local businesses donated drinks, snacks, and door prizes to help offset the cost of the conference.