West elementary teacher, administrator take top district honors

Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

by Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — Tuesday night, Geraldine Brown and Shamekia Isaac became the Natchez-Adams School District’s teacher and administrator of the year during a jazz-filled Mardi Gras celebration at the Adams County Safe Room.

A teacher at Susie B. West Elementary School, Brown said she felt honored to be selected for the district award.

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“I’m just blessed. This is my biggest award. I was up against giants,” she said. “Two of them I taught. They are very good teachers.”

Brown received a donation of $500 from Kimbrell’s Digital Solutions and an additional $500 from an anonymous donor for her honor.

As she received the award, Brown said, “All I can say is ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.’”

Other teachers honored for their work in the district were Ethel Scott from McLaurin Elementary, Zelda Argue from Frazier Elementary, Wanlia Williams from Morgantown Middle School, Toni Washington from Robert Lewis Magnet School, Chameiko Miller from Natchez Freshman Academy, Tracy Fleming from Natchez High School, LaToya Fleming from Natchez Early College Academy, Gretchen Thornton from Fallin Career and Technology Center, and Van Laurant III from Ombudsman.

Superintendent Fred T. Butcher said the only part of the event he did not like is that only one teacher from each school can be awarded for their work.

“Every teacher goes to school with a smile whether they want to smile or not,” Butcher said. “Every administrator is the last to leave and sacrifices time away from their family … to make sure that some child will have a better opportunity than you’ve had. That’s what education, that’s what religion … that’s what Christianity is all about,” Butcher said.

The selection of district teacher of the year was closely followed by the selection of district administrator of the year, Shamekia Isaac, assistant principal at Susie B. West Elementary School.

Isaac also received $500 from Kimbrell Digital Solutions.

McLaurin Elementary Assistant Principal Tristal Watson was also considered for the honor and received $250 from an anonymous donor.

Each teacher of the year and district nominees in attendance received $150.

West Elementary Principal Jessica Rankin said she was proud to present Brown with the district award.

“She is truly an inspiration,” Rankin said. “She is a beautiful teacher to her students, a fabulous colleague to her coworkers, and one of the few people I can count on one hand that never complains.”

Brown said she has been selected for teacher of the year for her school twice, but this is her first year to be chosen as the district teacher of the year.

When asked what advice she could give to other teachers and administrators, Brown said, “Love your children. Love your job.

“I love to teach, and I think that’s my gift,” she said. “I get up every morning to go to work and I stay sometimes until they say the building is going to close, even now. I don’t ever rush out.”

Brown said its important that her love should not end with her students.

“I love the children and even the parents,” she said. “You have to learn to love them too. You have to have a child. You have to have an administrator, and you have to have a parent. It takes parts to make a whole.”