Okolona High School educator honored as Teacher of the Year for district

OKOLONA, Miss. (WCBI) – A longtime educator was named top teacher at a Northeast Mississippi School District.

Okolona’s Teacher of the Year came to the district during a tough time and was part of a team that has seen dramatic improvements.

When Susan Aycock was named top teacher at Oklonna High school, she said she was honored. But when Aycock was named Teacher of the Year for the entire District, the veteran educator said she was caught off guard.

“I was surprised because there are so many other good teachers in the school and the district,” said Aycock.

Aycock teaches upper-level science and came on board in 2011, during a tumultuous time. The district was taken over by the state after being designated a failing school district.

Her assignments were to revamp the science program and redesign the outdated physics and chemistry lab.

Last year, the Okolona School District barely missed a B-ranking by the state. The district also came out of conservatorship and hired a new superintendent.

Aycock credited strong leadership from the administration and a sense of pride among teachers and students for the improved rankings.

“We’ve done big things in Okolona. The kids here are wonderful, I’ve come from other school districts, kids here are smart and respectful,” said Aycock.

Aycock could have retired some time ago, but she said she has thoroughly enjoyed what she is doing.

The principal at Okolona High School said he is glad she is still in the classroom.

“Now it’s hard to get teachers, seems number of teachers graduating each year is smaller and smaller, very beneficial to schools of our size that find someone like Mrs Aycock that will stay around for a number of years,” said Principal John Michael Tackett.

Aycock’s goals included helping the District achieve a coveted A-rating. She knows it’s possible, with hard work on everyone’s part.

Aycock has also worked in Vicksburg and Starkville since she and her husband moved to Mississippi.

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