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AIM Awards

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The Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) at Southern Miss is now accepting nominations for the 2023 AIM Awards, which seek to recognize and honor high school level arts teachers, schools, and organizations that are making an impact through exemplary achievements in arts education in Mississippi. 

Call for Nominations

Any member of the public can nominate high school level arts teachers and directors, schools, or organizations for this award or they may nominate themselves for the awards. In addition, private teachers, including studios, can be nominated. 

These awards may be received more than once, so if your nominee is a previous recipient, they are still eligible to be nominated again. However, a new form, along with supporting materials, must be filled out each year and resubmitted. 


  • Online nomination submission deadline is Friday, April 28, 2023.
  • The recipients will be notified by email. They must agree to receive the award in person, either at their high schools/organizations,  or at a special discipline event at Southern Miss on date(s) to be determined. 

Evaluation Criteria

Awards are made for outstanding work in arts education in the disciplines, including creative writing, dance, media, music (bands, orchestras, choirs, and other musical ensembles), theatre, and visual arts.

The judges will select recipients who best meet the following criteria:

  • Excellence in Arts Education;
  • Extent to which this person or organization has had a profound and enduring effect on arts education;
  • Extent to which this person's or organization's work enhance(s) the school’s and/or community's image.

3  Steps for the Nomination

 1. Consider the achievements of your nominee.

  • Are you nominating a Mississippi high school arts teacher/individual or a Mississippi high school arts organization that has made an outstanding contribution to a school, a community, or the state?
  • Has your nominee (individual or organization) enhanced education in, and through the arts?
  • Does your nominee represent the best of Mississippi’s cultural traditions?
    Has your nominee enhanced Mississippi through teaching, performance, or exemplary service?
  • Has your nominee made lasting and significant contribution to students, school, or community?

2. Prepare/collect the supporting materials.

  1. A one-page narrative describing why the nominee is outstanding and expanding on the qualities and achievements that contribute to this;
  2. A short biography (if individual) or organizational description (approximately. 100 words);
  3. Headshot/photo of nominee (if individual) or photo of group.

Additionally, we appreciate the submission of any media to help us promote and share their success stories, so you may also attach the following additional materials (not required):

  • Up to two letters of recommendations;
  • Attach media, audio recordings, video recordings, photographs, or writing samples (for writers/poets only).

3. Submit the online nomination form.

Submit by the deadline Friday, April 28, 2023.


Submit a Nomination


For questions, please e-mail: artsFREEMississippi


Past Award Recipients


  • Renna Moore, Visual Arts at Power APAC in Jackson, Miss.
  • Clinnesha D. Sibley, Literary Arts at Mississippi School for the Arts (MSA) in Brookhaven, Miss.
  • Olivia Drinkwater, Music and Theatre at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Daniel Martinez, Director of Orchestral Activities at Gulfport School District in Gulfport, Miss.
  • Harvey Jackson, Director of Choral Activities Gentry High School in Indianola, Miss.
  • Justin Harvison, Director of Bands at Germantown High School in Madison, Miss.
  • Cassandra Weiss, Music Educator at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Sarah Williams, Dance Educator at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Read about the recipients


  • Catherine Williams, English Teacher at West Marion High School in Foxworth, Miss.
  • Tammy Stanford, Dance/Theatre Movement Specialist at the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) in Brookhaven, Miss.
  • Terry Walker, Director of Choral Activities at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, Miss.   
  • Travis Coakley, Fine & Performing Arts Director/Director of Bands at Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Miss.
  • 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.
  • Robert Brooks, Theatre Instructor, Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, Miss.
  • Karli Corr, Art Teacher at Our Lady Academy High School in Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

Read about the recipients


  • Angela Heise, Art Teacher/Fine Arts Department Chair at St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs, Miss.
  • Jennifer Butler, English Teacher at Pass Christian High School in Pass Christian, Miss. 
  • Carrie Culpepper Brown, Dance Teacher at McComb (MS) School District in McComb, Miss.
  • Pierrdro Gallion, Director of Choral Activities at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss.
  • Ida Mitchell, Director of Bands at the Stone County School District in Wiggins, Miss.
  • Jorge Gonzalez, Orchestra Director at Hattiesburg Public School District in Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Suzanne Allmon, Theatre Director at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Read about the recipients