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The state’s largest organization for professional educators has granted scholarships to three exceptional graduate students and one outstanding undergraduate student in the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership at Mississippi College.

Charla Lewis, an English language arts and social studies teacher at Brandon Elementary School, Sheila Benson, a culinary arts teacher at Jones County Career Technical Center, and Kelly Taylor, a mathematics teacher at Florence High School, received a $1,000 graduate scholarship from Mississippi Professional Educators.

Morgan Marullo, a senior elementary education major, received MPE’s 2022 Linda Anglin Teacher Preparation Scholarship, which includes $500 and a complimentary membership to the organization for her first year of teaching.

Dr. Stephanie L. Henderson, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership at MC, said the scholarship recipients represent the excellence the department strives for in all its teachers and teacher leaders.

“We are honored and humbled to have four of our students receive scholarships from MPE this year,” Henderson said. “A portion of our mission is to ‘develop reflective practitioners with the appropriate knowledge, dispositions, and skills.’ These awards confirm the work of our faculty as we work toward this mission every day.”

She said the award winners represent three robust programs within the department: elementary education, online instruction and design, and curriculum and instruction.

“Each of these programs is grounded in the most recent and relevant research within the field of education,” Henderson said. “These students embraced the concepts and standards of their instruction and have applied or will apply these in meaningful ways in their own classrooms. They have taken theory and implemented it in practical and impactful ways to maximize the learning of all students.

“The department celebrates with Morgan, Charla, Sheila and Kelly. They each represent the best of who we are as a department. We are proud of the work that each of them has done to qualify them for these scholarships and we are eager to see what impact they will continue to have in schools. We would also like to thank MPE for the work that they do in our state to prioritize the welfare and education of children.”

A resident of Florence, Lewis earned her B.S. in education at MC and is pursuing her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She has been a member of MPE since 2007.

She credits her grandfather, Rufo Jones, for fueling her desire for education.

“It was my grandfather’s dream that I be the first Jones family member to graduate college,” Lewis said. “He only had a ninth-grade education, but was a brilliant man. He believed in education.

“Truly, my parents are a blessing, as well. They have been there, encouraged, and supported this entire journey. I’ve also been blessed with awesome administrators and coworkers who have helped guide me to the teacher I am now, and for that, I am thankful.”

She said the scholarship will help cover her tuition and encourages her that she’s on the right career track.

“The fact that the MPE Scholarship Committee felt me worthy of receiving one of their graduate scholarships confirms my belief that it was meant for me to come back 15 years later to earn my graduate degree,” she said. “This advanced degree will help me establish authority in education. I want to continue teaching for a few more years and then transition into working in developing the best practices In curriculum and instruction for a school district or school.

“Ultimately, I know I’m taking the next steps our gracious and loving God has outlined for me.”

Lewis said she regards teaching as challenging, yet highly rewarding.

“Teaching Is honestly my passion,” she said. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was going to be one. The satisfaction of knowing that I’m laying the foundation for children’s futures is the most fulfilling part of my life.

“I wasn’t born just to teach. I was born to inspire others, to change people, and to never give up, even when faced with challenges that seem impossible.”

A National Board-Certified Teacher and resident of Laurel, Benson earned her B.S. degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. A member of MPE since 2010, she is pursuing a master’s degree in online instruction and design at MC.

Benson said the scholarship will help enable her to complete her advanced degree.

“As an educator, it is important to me to continue learning to provide the best learning experiences for my students,” she said. “After completing my advanced degree, I plan to continue teaching, and I would like to work with other career and technical educators to help them integrate technology into their programs.”

She credits her professors at MC for preparing her to complete the program and the many teachers in her life who provided meaningful learning experiences.

“Receiving this scholarship has encouraged me greatly to continue on my journey of completing this advanced degree,” Benson said. “I am thankful that the Mississippi Professional Educators organization chose me for this scholarship, and I am thankful for the wonderful experience I have had thus far at Mississippi College.”

A resident of Florence, Taylor earned her B.S. at MC and is pursuing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She has been a member of MPE since 2015.

Taylor said the scholarship will help defray the cost of tuition.

“It lifts a financial burden,” she said. “I appreciate Rankin County School District and Florence High School for allowing me the opportunity to teach in this district, and I thank MPE for offering the scholarship to its members. They know how important higher education is.

“I plan to continue teaching and possibly pursue a career as an instructional coach.”

Originally from Pearl River, Louisiana, and now a resident of Carriere, Marullo is a president’s list scholar and a member of the Mortar Board national honor society. She serves as treasurer for the Kappa Delta Pi honor society. Upon graduation, she will have endorsements to teach English and social studies in grades 7-12.

Marullo said she is especially honored to receive the Linda Anglin Teacher Preparation Scholarship because the award is named for a ground-breaking educator who earned her master’s degree at MC.

“Mrs. Linda Anglin left a tremendous legacy,” Marullo said. “She was one of the founders of the Mississippi Professional Educators. She even served as the first president of the MPE from 1979-82. Her contributions have helped many teachers and principals throughout the state of Mississippi.

“Her incredible legacy of faith and passion for helping children learn inspired me. I was honored and excited to apply for the scholarship after learning more about her many amazing contributions in the education field.”

Marullo said the scholarship will impact her life and future career in education.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I felt called to be a teacher,” she said. “To me, teaching is more than a career – it is a genuine calling. I believe that education has the power to change the world, and teachers have the unique opportunity to play a role in that mission. Mrs. Linda Anglin did just that – she made the world a better place and impacted the lives of many different students and people. My hope and prayer is to do the same.

“Receiving this award in Mrs. Linda Anglin’s honor has further propelled my passion for education and helping students learn.”

She credits her faith and her instructors for helping position her for success in education.

“I am grateful to Jesus for this award,” Marullo said. “He deserves all the glory. My life is not my own – it is His. Second, I am thankful for the wonderful faculty members at Mississippi College. Each professor has truly shaped and inspired me. I appreciate their dedication as an educator and for the positive impact that they make in the education field each day.

“They have truly made a difference in my life.”

She is also thankful for the opportunity to begin her teaching career at Northlake Christian School in Covington, Louisiana, for the 2022-23 academic year.

“As I pursue my educational goals, this scholarship will assist me as I begin to purchase items and decorations for my future classroom,” Marullo said. “It will also help provide school supplies for my future students to use in my classroom. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for this coming school year!”

MC Connects with MPE

Founded in 1979, Mississippi Professional Educators serves approximately 13,000 teachers, administrators, and support personnel in pre-kindergarten through graduate education in public and private institutions. Its purpose is to promote better education for the children of Mississippi. MPE offers an annual scholarship to an MPE student member from each School of Education at Mississippi’s 15 public and private institutions of higher learning.

Dr. Stephanie L. Henderson said MC’s Department of Teacher Education and Leadership has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with MPE.

“We share the benefits of joining organizations that advocate for teachers, such as MPE, very early in our undergraduate degree program,” she said. “Students are encouraged to join even before graduating, since MPE offers a level of membership while students are pursuing their undergraduate degree.

“The Department of Teacher Education and Leadership has had numerous students receive the honor of awards and scholarships from MPE, exemplifying the quality of our programs and the work of MPE. The voice that MPE gives to educators in our state is extremely valuable, and we strive to emphasize that fact to our students.” is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.

Patrice, wife of Greg Boykin & mother of two sons, Bradley & Alex, is a Magee hometown girl. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry and 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community where she served as Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 18 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.


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