Susan Powell Spotlight teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary School, became DeSoto County Schools’ 2019 Teacher of the Year. Powell earned regional, national, and international support by helping start the non-profit Unknown Child Foundation, which evolved from her classroom “Pennies Project.” In 2009, Powell taught 7th grade Spotlight at Horn Lake Middle School, and the students were studying the Holocaust. Collaborating with another teacher, the goal was for students to gain an understanding of the extent of suffering. A total of 1.5 million pennies were collected – one for each child—to represent children who perished.
“Susan started this journey, and never let go, even when she moved to another school,” said the President of the Unknown Child Foundation. “It took 3.5 years to collect four tons (8,000+ pounds) of pennies, with many lessons taught and learned.
“Mrs. Powell never hesitates when there is a job to be done. She chairs the PBIS Team at our school, sponsors the Chess Team, and organizes the Veterans’ Day program each year,” said Magee. “She is an exceptional teacher.”
Susan Powell’s application has been submitted to the Mississippi Department of Education as a candidate for “Mississippi’s Teacher of the Year.” MDE will announce the winner in the spring.
“I am very humbled and very surprised to be named ‘DCS Teacher of the Year,’” Powell said. “So many outstanding teachers in our district deserve this honor. I have to say, I am happy and excited to come to work every day.“