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Oxford School District Teachers of the Year

The Oxford School District has announced seven teachers as honorees in the 2024 Teacher of the Year awards program. Each school in the district selects its Teacher of the Year, and from these seven teachers, one is selected as the overall district Teacher of the Year.

Laurel Bane- Oxford Early Childhood Center
Laurel Bane currently teaches Pre-K Special Education at OECC. She has taught for seven years, including three years in the Oxford School District. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Mississippi. She has an impressive total of four certifications which are General Education, Special Education- Mild/Moderate, Special Education- Severe/Profound, and Early Childhood Education. Her past experiences in teaching include Special Education for ages Pre-K and K, and self-contained & inclusion Special Education for Kindergarten to 4th Grade in Tennessee.Her goal as a teacher is to build functional life skills, create a strong educational foundation, and provide well-rounded instruction to her students.

Taylor Borgognoni- Bramlett Elementary School
Mrs. Borgognoni holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Mississippi with endorsements in Mild and Moderate Disabilities, English K-12, and Mathematics K-8. She obtained her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a Reading/Language Arts Specialization at The University of Mississippi in 2018 and holds certifications in Special Education (Mild and Moderate Disabilities), English (K-12), Mathematics (K-8), and Sequential English Education. Borgognoni has been teaching for six years, with the past four in the Oxford School District and is currently a first grade teacher at Bramlett Elementary School. In the years prior, she taught 2nd grade in the South Panola School District. Mrs. Borgognoni is passionate about teaching and strives to foster a love for learning in her students. She believes in a hands-on, engaging, and cooperative learning approach that encourages movement and interaction. She is committed to creating a warm and nurturing classroom environment that instills responsibility, self-confidence, and mutual respect among her students. As a dedicated educator, Mrs. Borgognoni’s priorities are to ensure that her students feel safe, loved, understood, and cared for every day. One of the most rewarding aspects of Mrs. Borgognoni’s job is watching her students grow and develop both academically and socially. She begins each day with a morning meeting, where her students greet each other creatively, share their thoughts and interests and play games together. This allows her students to feel comfortable with one another and gain confidence in themselves as individuals. In her personal life, Mrs. Borgognoni is married to Landon Borgognoni and has a two-year-old son named Bo. She is excited about the prospect of her son becoming an Oxford Charger one day!

Shae VanSickle- Della Davidson Elementary School
Ms. VanSickle holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Delta State with certifications in Special Education (K-12), Elementary Education (K-6), and Social Studies (7-12). This year marks Ms. VanSickle’s 15th year as a teacher. She currently teaches 3rd grade ELA at Della, where she has been teaching for 10 out of 12 years in the district. During her first two years, VanSickle taught second grade at Oxford Elementary. Prior to moving to Oxford, she was a Special Education teacher and Interventionist for 1st and 2nd grade at Otken Elementary School in McComb. VanSickle is motivated by her student’s progress. Witnessing a student experience an “aha” moment energizes and excites her. She finds it inspiring to work with students who persevere through challenges, and she often learns just as much from them as they do from her. When former students run into her around town and update her on their lives, it reminds her of why she chose to become a teacher.

Paul Garner- Central Elementary 
Mr. Garner is a fifth-grade science teacher with 27 years of teaching experience in the Oxford School District. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, a Bachelor’s degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction, and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Math/Science Education. He is also certified in k-6 Elementary Education. Along with a dedicated teacher, Garner is also an assistant Cross Country and Track coach for both OHS and OMS. He finds motivation in seeing students make connections with difficult concepts, observing their progress, and building lifelong relationships with them and their parents. He also finds joy in coaching Cross Country and Track and watching his students grow both inside and outside the classroom.

Kelsey Schubert- Oxford Intermediate School 
Kelsey Schubert holds an Associate’s of Art degree from Northeast Mississippi Community College and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Art Education from Mississippi University for Women. Additionally, she is certified to teach K-12 Art. Teaching art has been a long-standing passion for Kelsey, having taught K-12 at various schools during her tenure as a student teacher and long-term substitute. For the past eight years, Kelsey has been teaching at OIS in Oxford and has accumulated a decade of experience at other various schools. She attributes her teaching success to her amazing mentors, including two exceptional art teachers who taught her to be organized, set high expectations, and challenged her to teach complex content to students. Kelsey’s family members have had a significant influence on her teaching career, with her mother teaching at public school for 28 years and continuing to teach at home. Her aunt, a successful artist, taught collegiate level art, and her cousin, who teaches middle school art and is also a professional artist, has always inspired Kelsey to encourage creativity and push students to produce their best work.

Dr. Emily Riser- Oxford Middle School 
Emily Riser holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Vassar College, a Master of Arts degree in English from Texas State University, and an Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) from Delta State University. She is certified in secondary English in both Mississippi and Texas. Dr. Riser currently teaches 8th Grade English and Creative Writing at Oxford Middle School. Prior to joining the Oxford School District, she taught college English for ten years and high school English before that. Her teaching career spans over two decades, with her first year of teaching beginning in 1999. Riser finds motivation in teaching due to her students’ incredible potential for growth and creativity. She attributes her passion for teaching to her mother, who was an 8th grade English teacher. Dr. Riser witnessed her mother’s hard work and innovative methods during her formative years, which inspired her to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Outside of work, Dr. Riser is a proud wife to Dale Riser and mother to Ana and William, who are both graduates of the Oxford School District.

Sommer Husbands- Oxford High School 
Sommer Husbands holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi, with certifications in English and Library/Media. With over 22 years of teaching experience, her current focus is on teaching AP English IV and Pre-AP English II. Over the years, she has taught several courses, including English II, Speech, Oral Communications, Compensatory English, English IV, and writing courses at Ole Miss. Sommer attributes her personal and professional growth to the invaluable mentorship of six veteran educators at Oxford, including Jane Metzger, Judy Nicholas, Ginny Miller, Gwen Garrett, Jolee Hussey, and Mary Stone; all who greatly impacted her personal and professional growth.

The recipient of this year’s award for overall Teacher of the Year is Bramlett Elementary teacher, Taylor Borgognoni.

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In February, the Oxford School District will honor its Teachers of the Year at a special ceremony sponsored by local businesses. Local citizens, Drs. Harry and Christine Rayburn, began the celebration luncheon in 2019 and have committed to the special recognition for 10 years.

Courtesy of the OSD

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