Lifting Up Educators in Rural Mississippi

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Summit : New Orleans, LA

School : New Albany High School

District : New Albany City

State : Mississippi

Team Lead : Mary Margarett King

Topics: Policy - Teacher Voice, Teacher Leadership Training

Mississippi State Teacher of the Year Mary Margarett King is no stranger to teacher leadership and is a powerful advocate for lifting up the voices of teachers in her community. She and her team wanted to find a way to create opportunities for teachers to serve as leaders from the classroom, and sought to partner with the National State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) to affect the change her team envisioned.

Problem and Solution

Mary Margarett’s team recognized the potential power in teacher leadership opportunities for educators in rural Mississippi. “There is a need for an organization focused on teacher leadership to address the problems facing the educational system in Mississippi,” Mary Margarett said, noting that Mississippi consistently ranks on the bottom of educational rankings for both student outcomes and teacher quality.

“Few leadership opportunities exist here for teachers to lead from the classroom.”

Mary Margarett and her team worked to increase the capacity of teacher leaders at the state level by partnering with  the National Network of State Teachers of the Year to create a new, Mississippi-based chapter. This chapter worked to mobilize and train teachers in Mississippi to advocate on behalf of education policy decisions that ultimately impact their classrooms, communities, schools, and state.


Since their team’s participation in the Teach to Lead summit, Mary Margarett’s group has made a lot of progress toward their goals of increased teacher leadership in Mississippi! They have launched the official website for the MS NNSTOY chapter, compiled a database of award-winning Mississippi educators to join the group, and submitted a proposal to bring a regional gathering of ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers) to the state. They hope to continue providing opportunities for teachers at all levels from across the state to collaborate, network, and train with one another.

Teacher Leadership Tips

“As teacher leaders, we have a responsibility to empower teachers, to advance the profession, and to impact students,” Mary Margarett said. “Teacher leadership is empowering!”

Interested in learning more about this project? Contact Mary Margarett King at