Sudduth Elementary teacher, Carrie Powell, and Starkville High School teacher, April Dill have been named 2023 Teachers of Distinction by the SOAR Community Foundation. The annual awards were presented at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Banquet on January 30.
Starkville-Oktibbeha Achieving Results (SOAR) is a local charitable community foundation centered on supporting local initiatives that improve the quality of life for all Oktibbeha County residents. It presented three Teachers of Distinction awards for 2023, two of which honored Starkville Oktibbeha School District teachers.
Carrie Powell is a kindergarten teacher at Sudduth Elementary, now in her 18th year of teaching. She has taught both first grade and kindergarten in her tenure, and takes pride in helping to make a student's first school experience a joyful one. Her goal is to build positive relationships with students in her classroom to begin their lifelong love of learning.
"Something I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments is having had the privilege of building children’s love for reading," Powell says. "The first reading instruction is crucial to how children develop their reading skills. One of the things that brings me the most joy is when all the parts of reading come together for a student and they see they can read. This is not only my accomplishment as a teacher but the student’s accomplishment from their hard work. This joy and love of learning that I can help bring to children is one of the main reasons I continue to love my work as an educator."
April Dill is a National Board Certified Teacher and the lead instructor in the Educator Preparation pathway at Starkville High School. A 20-year veteran of teaching, Ms. Dill serves as a leader in building the next generation of teachers, both in Oktibbeha County and the greater region. In Fall 2022, Ms. Dill led the Educators Rising student group in organizing and hosting the Northern Region Fall Leadership Conference, serving more than 500 students and teacher advisors. She has also developed a job shadowing program for students in the Educator Preparation pathway to gain real-world experience in the classroom while paired with SOSD teachers in each student's chosen grade level and subject area.
"Teaching is an awesome responsibility," Dill says. "It's a responsibility that extends far beyond the lesson or content. Every day in my classroom, I make it my mission to inspire, challenge, and help my students reach their fullest potential. I strive to make it a community of learners, where they feel safe, can contribute their ideas freely, and are inspired and engaged with the learning process."
Congratulations to Mrs. Powell and Ms. Dill for earning these outstanding honors as 2023 SOAR Teachers of Distinction.