Stephanie McArthur, a teacher at Singing River Academy in Gautier, has been named SRA Teacher of the Year.
She has been teaching for 19 years and has been at SRA since it changed names from Singing River Elementary six years ago. She teaches beginning band for 6th grade and also assists with the Gautier Middle School and Gautier High School band programs where she teaches 6th to 12th grades. However, 6th grade is her primary focus.
In the past, Teachers of the Year have received a $500 supplement from the District that is to be used for classroom/student needs. All Teachers of the Year will be recognized by the Pascagoula School District and receive a plaque. Each school in the PGSD will vote for a Teacher of the Year and one of those teachers will be chosen as Teacher of the Year for the Pascagoula-Gautier School District and that person will then have the opportunity to be voted on at the state level.
McArthur was in disbelief upon learning that she had won.
“First of all when it was announced that I had been named Teacher of the Year, I couldn’t believe it. I work with tremendous teachers every day and several that had also been nominated so I was completely surprised. Being SRA’s Teacher of the Year to me, means that my peers, my colleagues, recognize the work and effort that I try to bring to my job every day.”
She became a teacher so that she could give back to others, and to share her love of music. “I want my kids to know that music can take them to places they never dreamed they could go. Being in band as a kid helped me be more confident. It taught me discipline and it gave me a place to belong. It also helped me pay for college. I want to help give our students in Gautier the same opportunities.”
Her favorite part about teaching is seeing the “light bulb” moments. “Nothing beats seeing the face of a child that finally gets what it is you are teaching.” The long hours are what she likes least. During marching season, their band director team can work in excess of 60 hours a week with football games and marching contests.
Stephanie has been married to her husband, Chris, for 17 years, and they have two daughters, Kathryn and Elizabeth (Lizzy).
“I love being a teacher at SRA. Our principal, Pam Rone and assistant principal, Christy Sharp, are amazing administrators who love what they do, love the children in our building and do everything in their power to create an environment where teachers want to teach and students want to learn. Being named Teacher of the Year is a huge honor, one that I do not take lightly and one that I am completely humbled by. Teacher of the Year, I believe, however, is not just about the success of one person. It is about the success of everyone you teach with. I am able to teach because I have a village – a team of amazing educators and support staff that I teach and work with daily. I am truly blessed to be a teacher at SRA and in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District.”