Skip navigation


2019 AIM Award Recipients

2019 AIM Awards Recipients
The Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) at The University of Southern Mississippi, established the AIM Awards to salute and honor the accomplishments of outstanding high school level arts teachers, schools, and organizations that are making an impact through exemplary achievements in arts education throughout the state of Mississippi.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 AIM Awards, who are making an impact in the Arts disciplines, including creative writing, dance, music (bands, symphony orchestra, and choirs), theatre, and visual arts. The Award recipients will be recognized at special events, either at their high schools or at Southern Miss, where they will be presented with the award

Catherine Williams 

English Teacher at West Marion High School in Foxworth, Miss.

Catherine Williams, West Marion High SchoolCatherine Williams has found innovative ways to teach and incorporate creative writing in her class room both for the love of expressive writing and as a tool to enhance the instruction of writing in all forms Williams provides venues in and outside the school to celebrate student writing, including a Poetry and Art Showcase hosted in Columbia every year and by serving as the co-sponsor for the Art Club.  She also employs creative and engaging classroom opportunities for her students, including a novel-writing unit and a black-out poetry event.


Williams is admired by colleagues and students alike: A colleague, Mrs. Price, said of Williams, “Catherine deserves to be West Marion High School Teacher of the Year every year. Her dedication is unequalled here at WMHS.”  Gabriel, a student in William’s writing class, attributed his “ability to keep an open mind, explore ideas, and grow as a writer and a human” to Williams’s tutelage.


William’s work is praised not only within her school, but also regionally, as she is one of the South Mississippi Writing Projects Teaching Consultants. Robin Atwood, Director of the Southern Mississippi Writing Project highlighted her devotion to student success, “William’s own background as an accomplished writer not only enables her to deeply understand the need to provide students with multiple opportunities to engage in creative writing, it also positions her as an excellent teacher and model of effective writing and an advocate for her students in the broader geographical community.”


West Marion High School is a small rural school in Foxworth, Mississippi and serves about 600 students in grades 7-12, where Williams teaches World Literature, English II, Accelerated English II, and AP Literature and Composition.



Tammy Stanford 

Dance/Theatre Movement Specialist at the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) in Brookhaven, Miss.

Tammy Stanford, MSATammy Stanford’s dance education career spans over 25 years, where she has specifically been starting, establishing, and expanding dance programs throughout the state. Stanford, founder of the MSA Dance department, has established the dance program as a feeder for colleges and universities in the state for dance and has fostered partnerships that benefit her students in a multitude of ways.


In the words of her nominator, “It is my opinion that Stanford is a Mississippi treasure—nothing short—and continues to be a vital contributor to dance education.” Stanford's extensive contributions to Arts in Education include: curriculum and framework writing, teacher training and consulting for Mississippi State Department of Education's Visual and Performing Arts Framework, the "Whole Schools Project" and "Summer Institutes" for Mississippi Arts Commission, "Mega Conferences" and "Training Artists" for Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, and "Different Ways of Knowing" for the Galef Institute.  She's also the recipient and host of several guest artists and grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission.


Stanford has received awards, recognitions, and sponsorships for her choreography and teaching, including MSA’s Teacher of the Year for 2016 and Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator in dance from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education in 2004.

Mississippi School of the Arts is a residential high school for eleventh and twelfth grade students located in Brookhaven, Mississippi.



Terry Walker 

 Director of Choral Activities at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, Miss.   

Terry Walker, Long Beach High SchoolUnder Terry Walker’s direction, the choirs and ensembles have received superior ratings at district, state, and national festivals. Most recently, the concert choir returned to Italy in the summer of 2017 to rave reviews. They were well received at St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Mark’s in Venice, and several other musical performances. Most notably, they performed in a concert series in Perugia, Italy where the choir received an immediate return invitation. In the spring of 2017, the Bearcat Chorale was selected to perform at the MMEA/ACDA State Choral Convention.


Walker has had the pleasure of attending master classes given by renowned artists such as the New York Voices, Jeff Johnson, Jerry Blackstone, Andre Thomas, and Arvo Pärt. He has served as the Repertoire and Resources chair for male voices for the Mississippi Chapter of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and as District VIII High School Division Chair and currently serves as the President-Elect of the state ACDA.


After receiving his Master's degree in Choral Conducting from The University of Southern Mississippi, Walker was hired as the Assistant Choral Director at Warren Central High School in historic Vicksburg, Miss. During his time at Warren Central, he directed Total Sound and the Concert, Women's, Men's, and Varsity Choirs. He also assisted the Warren Central High School's Chamber Choir performance at the 2013 National Association for Music Education/ACDA State Choral convention.

Long Beach High School, also known as Long Beach Senior High School, is a suburban public high school in Long Beach, Mississippi.




Travis Coakley

 Fine & Performing Arts Director/Director of Bands at Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Miss.

Travis Coakley, Biloxi High SchoolUnder Travis Coakley’s leadership, the Biloxi Band program has grown to be one of the largest in the southeast, with over 650 students in grades 6-12. The program has experienced a track record of consistent success and achievement receiving the highest ratings for marching band & concert band performances. The Biloxi Wind Ensemble has recently been a featured performing ensemble at the William Carey Honor Band Clinic, the University of Alabama Honor Band Clinic, the Music For All Lafayette Concert Band Regional, and will travel in 2020 to perform at the American School Band Directors Association National Conference.


The principal of Biloxi High School said of Coakley:


“Mr. Coakley has served as the band director of BHS for approximately 9 years and his skill set and accomplishments are second to none. In those 9 years he has shaped our band program into one that is respected on the state and national levels and overflowing with student participation. Our program would not be where it is today without his hard work, dedication, and leadership.” He added, “I truly believe that every student that leaves the band program at BHS does so as a better person.”


Coakley has many personal accolades for his music education efforts, including the Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator for Music in the state of Mississippi. The Biloxi High School has also been nationally recognized for its commitment to the arts, some accolades include, School of Excellence Award from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education,  Support Music Merit Award by the NAMM Foundation, and is a two time GRAMMY Foundation Signature Schools semi-finalist.

The Biloxi High School is the only public high school located in the city of Biloxi, Mississippi. It has approximately 1,650 students and 150 faculty.




Daniela Pardo

Teacher of Strings; Education Outreach Coordinator at USM Symphony Orchestra in Hattiesburg, Miss.; and Education Director and String Faculty at Mobile Symphony Orchestra in Mobile, Ala.


Daniela Pardo, StringsDaniela Pardo is an outstanding teacher of strings who has been positively impacting the lives of young musicians for over 20 year. Pardo has been instrumental in the development of string programs, including My First String Camp and the Suzuki Strings program at William Carey University. Pardo currently coordinates the USM Symphony Orchestra’s Education Outreach program that places dozens of student performance ensembles into the public schools in the Hattiesburg area, as well as string students in the school programs in the Mobile area for the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.


The letter of nomination highlights the impact that she has had in strings education:


“Ms. Pardo has been dedicated to string education for her entire working career—positively impacting the lives of hundreds of young musicians. She is a tireless worker who is passionate about providing opportunities for young students to experience the joy of music and the social and character building benefits of participating in musical organizations.”


Pardo began her teaching career in her native Venezuela at the Simon Bolivar Conservatory, then came to America to teach at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she was coordinator of the Suzuki program. Pardo moved to Mississippi in 2010 to teach strings in the Hattiesburg Public School system. In this capacity, Pardo touched the lives of hundreds of young students who came from very challenging backgrounds. Pardo continues to impact string education in Mississippi through her work as the International Recruitment and Educational Outreach Coordinator for the USM Symphony Orchestra.




Dr. Robert Brooks

Theatre Instructor, Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, Miss.

Dr. Robert Brooks, MSADr. Robert Brooks has been an instructor teaching acting, directing, theatre history, dramatic literature/theory, play writing, play production, and script analysis at MSA for the past 22 years. Dr. Brook’s students have won monologue and speaking contests at the state level of several competitions; are five time winners of the English-Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition; have won contests at the Mississippi Theatre Association festival on both state and regional levels; and have gone on to study theatre at top-notch universities and acting conservatories.

Dr. Brooks has set a high standard for comprehensive infusion of the Arts in Education for youth in Mississippi. In the words of his nominator, “MSA admits students from all over the state and provides a true cultural representation for education with arts core training. Dr. Brooks’ graduates arrive at their higher education programs with a more thorough understanding of the rigor and discipline necessary for the profession than their counterparts.”


Dr. Brooks has directed more than thirty theatrical productions at universities, community theatres, and the Mississippi School of the Arts; he has designed sets, lights, and sound for numerous productions as well. His writing has been published in The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, and the American National Biography; and he has presented papers at numerous professional conferences.

Mississippi School of the Arts is a residential high school for eleventh and twelfth grade students located in Brookhaven, Mississippi.





Karli Corr

Art Teacher at Our Lady Academy High School in Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

Karli Corr, Our Lady Academy High SchoolAn artist and educator, Karli Corr, for the past five years has shared her love and knowledge for art with her students, while continuing her own work and craft of art in the Coast. She is the founding sponsor of the National Art Honor Society and has won accolades including Apple Teacher Award and Outstanding Instruction.


The nomination letter said of Corr:


"After college, I have witnessed her ability to continue a leadership role in her community and endure the hardships as an educator with lasting support for her students. Mrs. Corr is a positive influence in her coast community, as a sponsor for a National Art Honor Society and head coach for archery, and possesses a sense of clarity in her art work.”


As an artist, the layers in her abstract paintings capture the balance between our ancient world and out transient life. “Life is a series of parts, layered together to make something unique. The layers of earth, the layers of time, the layers of emotions all of these come together to create a unique moment that only happened once and will never happen again. It is that beautiful balance of our ancient world and our transient life that is captured in my Painted Layers.”

Our Lady Academy is Mississippi's only all girls private school located on the beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.





Read about our 2018 recipients>>