Position: Fourth Grade Language Arts Teacher
School: Bayou View Elementary School
School District: Gulfport School District
City, State: Gulfport, Mississippi
About the Nominee: Tammy Parker was nominated by the parent of two of her former students, Alice Walker, as well as her principal, Tess Lawrence. The following profile contains information from both nominations. Ms. Parker is a true LifeChanger in her community because she goes over and beyond on a daily basis to serve her students. This stellar educator and caring person devotes numerous hours after school assisting any student in need of help in the areas of reading or general support. She does all of this with grace and incredible patience; she views it as her duty and her calling to reach as many students as she can during her lifetime. Ms. Parker serves as her school's literacy coach and mentors teachers in the methods and strategies that she has attained throughout her twenty-five years of teaching. She has most notably changed the lives of many students who suffer from and are challenged by dyslexia. She advocates for these students, nudging and encouraging them to be successful both academically and behaviorally.
Two of Alice's children have been taught by Mrs. Parker. Alice states that she has seen both of them flourish and gain invaluable knowledge during their time in fourth grade.
Both of Alice's children credit Mrs. Parker for many of their accomplishments while they were under her supervision. One of them said, “I always knew she cared about us, and she did everything possible to make sure that we not only knew the material, but that we understood it and how it would benefit us in life.” Alice states that she saw firsthand the success her children were able to achieve, not only in terms of academics, but in terms of approaching English with a new found confidence and enthusiasm. Her family credits Mrs. Parker for the majority of both of their children's success with massive growth in their reading levels.
Another way Mrs. Parker separates herself from others is her ability to be creative in her approach to teaching. If she recognizes that a student has a different learning style from the way she is teaching the material, she quickly alters her teaching style to best fit that particular student. For example, one of Alice's children was diagnosed with dyslexia while in Mrs. Parker's class. Mrs. Parker went out of her way to study and learn techniques to help Alice's child become a confident reader. She spent hours and hours researching the best material available for students struggling with dyslexia. She dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy, pouring extra love and encouragement into Alice's son during a very hard time in their life. Mrs. Parker never stops giving, ever. She is truly amazing; she saw a need and immediately addressed it, no matter how long it took. Mrs. Parker makes herself available every day after school for those that need extra practice or need more instruction on a certain concept. She gets to know her students so they feel comfortable asking her for extra help and staying with her after school. Fourth grade is a tough year academically, with so many new concepts being placed before students. Mrs. Parker makes sure that in her class, her students are able to succeed with confidence.
The aforementioned statements describe why Mrs. Parker is such a valuable teacher and LifeChanger. She is not only an outstanding and gifted teacher, but an incredible motivator of people. Mrs. Parker provides a platform for leaders to lead, and she finds a way for everyone to learn. She also teaches life lessons to ensure success for her students long after they have left Bayou View Elementary School. Alice states that she will forever be indebted to Mrs. Parker for her investment into her children. She literally changed their lives!