Local woman chosen for national Mom Congress

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NATCHEZ — For Deloris Irving, mothering and teaching are synonymous.

Irving’s philosophy caught the attention of Parenting magazine, which selected the mother of three to represent Mississippi at the inaugural Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., May 2-4.

Irving, president of the Mississippi Parent Teacher Association, is among 51 mothers who will travel to the nation’s capital to share success stories, challenges and concerns about the nation’s schools.

Each mom delegate was selected from applications submitted to Parenting.com, and will receive round-trip airfare and a two-night hotel stay.

“I’ve been involved in education all my life, and I’ve been involved with the PTA since my children were just babies,” Irving said. “I have three daughters who all graduated from the Natchez-Adams School District, and I served on the PTA from the first child to the last child.

“As a mom and now a grandmother of two granddaughters, the entire K-12 experience is important to me, not just for my own children, but for every child. Helping them prepare for tomorrow is very important.”

During her stay in Washington, Irving said she plans to address President Obama’s reauthorization plan for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was renamed the No Child Left Behind Act by President George W. Bush. Irving also plans to address obesity in Mississippi schools.

“We’re classified as the most obese state in the union for our children,” Irving said. “We’re going to look at what can we do to help parents and educators in our particular area and hopefully we’ll come up with some new and innovative ideas.”

Irving said she and other mom delegates will hear from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and faculty members of Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies during the conference.

Irving said she’s most excited about gathering information and applying it to state and local education agendas.

“We can pull all our resources together to help our children,” Irving said. “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to represent the state of Mississippi, and I hope to bring back lots of information and share it with the state department of education, the state PTA and the local superintendent here in Natchez.”

Irving said next month will not be the first time she’s traveled to Washington. Last month, she attended the PTA’s national legislative conference and had the opportunity to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, who was the conference’s keynote speaker.

“At the end of her presentation, she and I did talk. She was very pleasant and came across as a mom first,” Irving said.

“She said that she was expecting great things from Mississippi. She saw potential here.”