Mary Taylor, a graduate student in The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Technology Education’s Technical and Occupational Education (TOE) program, has been selected Teacher of the Year for Lamar County.
Taylor has taught at the Lamar County Center for Technical Education for three years and has been an allied health teacher for more than 12 years. She previously taught at Forrest County Agricultural High School and before that taught courses in biology, chemistry, and other academic areas in Columbia, Miss. before receiving a grant to start the allied health program in Lamar County.
Taylor says it makes all the difference in the world when teachers are positive and believe in their students. "If you give 100 percent, the students give 100 percent back," she said. “They know if you’re doing all you can to help them. I truly believe in raising expectations."
She earned an undergraduate degree in nursing at Southern Miss, but didn’t pursue a career in education until her husband, also an educator, encouraged her to begin a teaching career. She continues to work as a nurse on weekends while also pursuing a graduate degree in TOE with hopes of becoming director of a career and technical center.
A devoted promoter and spokesperson for career and technical education, Taylor also endorses membership in professional organizations and keeping up with the latest trends, skills and best practices of her profession. She serves as second vice-president for the Mississippi Association of Career and Technical Education (MACTE) which annually hosts a summer conference for career and technical educators and administrators, vendors, and other career and technical enthusiasts.
In addition to TOE, the Department of Technology Education offers programs in instructional technology, business technology education and office administration. For more information, online visit www.usm.edu/technologyeducation/
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.