For their time and service, area teachers recently were honored by being named teachers of the year at Dickson Public Schools after being nominated and voted for by their peers.
Melissa Leveridge was recognized as High School Teacher of the Year as well as District Teacher of the Year.
Leveridge is in her first year of teaching English III.
She received her bachelor’s degree in social work at Hardin-Simmons University, and switched to teaching after seeing that “all of my clients had two main things in common: poverty and a lack of education. So I decided I wanted to do something to change that.
“I decided to go into education in hopes of making school systems more equitable for students who are raised in poverty.”
She then began teaching sixth and ninth grade English in Texas before getting married in 2014 and moving to Sulphur. She then began teaching 7th-grade English at Dickson before switching to junior English this year. She was grateful that her peers appreciated her hard work.
“Teaching is often a thankless and highly criticized profession,” Leveridge said. “So this kind of recognition goes a long way in encouraging me to continue working hard to make sure to give my students the tools they need to succeed when they are in college or the workforce. It is really nice to know that other professionals see that what is happening in my class is making a difference, and I hope to live up to that for many years to come.”
At the Middle School level, Ann Beals was recognized as Teacher of the Year. Beals is in her first year at Dickson, teaching 6th-grade math and is in her 18th year of teaching overall.
“It’s a good place to be,” Beals said of Dickson. “The support and everybody around, just a good, good place.”
Jeff Parsons was recognized as Upper Elementary School Teacher of the Year for his six years of work in 5th-grade social studies.
“He’s a multiple teacher of the year winner selected by his peers here at the building,” Upper Elementary School Principal David Gardner said of Parsons. “He’s very deserving, very professional. I’d put him up against any teacher in the state of Oklahoma. He’s always the first one here every morning, preparing for his lessons, and he’s one of a kind.”
Darla Mays was recognized as Lower Elementary School Teacher of the Year for her work with kindergarteners.
“It was a great honor,” Mays said of being chosen. “I was a Dickson graduate myself and that’s really cool that you can come from being a student here and teach up here. It’s pretty awesome. I love what I do. There’re a lot of people who don’t like their jobs. I love what I do.”