Susan Mingee, school librarian at Vidalia Lower Elementary School and 2019 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Finalist, is the true embodiment of an educator with an incredible legacy. After I met Susan for the first time, you could tell that a love for children and teaching permeates every fiber of her being. At her school right at the edge of the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, Susan gets to know and love on every student she is able to come in contact with, and spends her day working to encourage and uplift the students that come into her library. She builds relationships with all of the students, and they are excited to share with her the things that are important to them.
“I think it is crucial for all “activity teachers” to take every opportunity to be that special, trusted adult for our students to look to for encouragement, praise, and guidance. In this difficult world we live in, our students need as many supporters as possible, and they need to know that we are behind them and proud of their accomplishments.” -Susan Mingee
Susan’s Do Something
Susan’s passion for elevating students and building confidence has led her to revamp the way that the Students of the Month are being honored at Vidalia Lower Elementary School.
After having their names posted in the school’s main hallway, students receive a Student of the Month embroidered “bragtag” to display on their backpacks. These students names are announced on the school intercom and students are celebrate for their exceptional character. Susan then sends invitations to parents to come to the PTO meeting where these Students of the Month are recognized and presented with a special certificate. Susan loves meeting with each of her Students of the Month to give them one last hug as she takes their photo down to make room for the next month’s lucky student.
What impact has this had on the culture of Vidalia Lower Elementary School? During their September PTO meeting, parent attendance tripled due to the Student of the Month program! The students are excited. The parents are excited that their child is being honored. The staff of Vidalia Lower Elementary School is excited that this new program is already a success. “All it takes is a little time and effort to make a big impact on our students,” says Susan.