Joanne McGehee, a sixth-grade science teacher at Oxford Intermediate School (OIS), is the 2017 Oxford School District (OSD) Teacher of the Year.
This spring, she will represent the Oxford School District in the 2017 Mississippi Teacher of the Year Program, which is sponsored by the Mississippi Teacher Center at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).
For ten years, McGehee has taught in Oxford classrooms with teaching experience at both Oxford Middle School and Oxford High School. As a teacher, she said that she believes all students have the ability to learn, but they learn differently.
“I believe it is my job to teach my students where they are, with high expectations, but with lessons and activities that include a variety of learning styles and tailored instruction to meet the individual needs of the student,” McGehee said.
McGehee said that there is no shortage of great teachers in the Oxford School District and being selected as Teacher of the Year is an incredible honor to her.
“I get to do what I love every day and give back to a community that I care deeply about,” McGehee said.
Her colleagues said “passion, dedication and excellence” are just a few words used to describe her.
“Mrs. McGehee’s passion for her students and commitment to their learning and overall development as people serves as an example for all of us,” said OSD Superintendent Brian Harvey. “We are lucky to have her in the Oxford School District.”
“She embodies the qualities of a great educator and is committed to the growth and education of the whole child,” said OIS Principal Steven Hurdle. “She also works faithfully to ensure the success of every child and does all of this while maintaining a strong working relationship with her colleagues to provide leadership in our school.”
As an educator, McGehee said she strives to create productive and caring citizens as well. She believes her greatest contribution to date as a teacher would be creating and giving life to a new character education program at OIS called the Creating Character Program. With input from fellow teachers, parents and administrators, the program was put into place this school year.
The Creating Character Program uses three guiding principles—connecting, caring and cultivating—to promote the school’s everyday heroes’ character education program. In the program, every fifth and sixth grader is assigned a mentor, a staff member and a resource for these students. Hero Moments are scheduled twice a month with student-mentor groups, and topics, such as bullying, setting goals, social media, nutrition/fitness and building positive relationships, are discussed.
“Students hear from community members who provide motivation and promote good citizenship,” McGehee said. “Also, students contribute to service projects and discuss ways to create a cultural change within our school.”
“Without question, Mrs. McGehee is one of the most beloved teachers at OIS by students, parents and colleagues alike,” Hurdle said. “She genuinely wants to know who her students are, and what she can do to inspire greater outcomes.”
At OIS, McGehee also serves on the OIS Leadership Team and coordinates the annual Oxford School District 4th-6th Grade Science Fair. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Mississippi and participated in the Teach Mississippi Institute. She is married to Drew McGehee and they have one child, Houston.
Visit www.oxfordsd.org for more information on the Oxford School District.
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