March 2017 Winner - Jacqueline Lewis:(Enterprise High School)


Meridian Family of Stations -

Meridian Star Article

Cheryl Owens / The Meridian Star

Jon Pollard of The Meridian Family of Stations presented Enterprise High School math teacher Jacqueline Lewis the Golden Apple Award for the month of March on Tuesday.

Because of her dedication to the profession she loves, Lewis was named March’s Golden Apple winner at a surprise award ceremony Tuesday morning at Enterprise High School.

Lewis said when her classroom door opened and a group of strangers walked in, she was both shocked and overwhelmed, but then it felt like a big hug.

"I see it on TV all the time, and think that would be so cool to have one of those Golden Apples – I didn’t even know about the money, I just wanted the trophy," Lewis said, with a laugh. "And to be nominated by a colleague means a tremendous amount to me."

Lewis holds a degree in computer science and a master's degree in electrical computer engineering, but she was motivated to have a schedule similar to that of her children and moved to the classroom.

"I wanted to have the summers off with them, but the first year I taught I fell in love with teaching math," Lewis said. "I loved the teenagers and it was very entertaining. My children are in college now and I could go back, but I love teaching and I am going to stay with it."

+3 Enterprise High teacher named March Golden Apple winner

Cheryl Owens / The Meridian Star

Educator Jacqueline Lewis, March's Golden Apple Winner, show students in her Algebra 1 class at Enterprise High School, from left, Left, Faith Guy, Peyton Kennedy, Anna Kate Touchstone and Seth Holt, the accurate way to solve a math problem.

Lewis described the way she teaches math differently, using what she calls the 90-minute concept. It's an idea she has shared with other teachers, the district, and the East Mississippi Center for Education Development. Lewis describes the concept as having a balance of talent at different tables in the classroom.

"It’s math, so it’s dry, and you have to spice it up," Lewis said. "Teenagers love to compete, so if you put a game or competition in it at all they are engaged. I can bounce from table to table and I can have someone strong at every table that can peer tutor. I think it is all about the kids helping each other. It’s something about kids teaching kids that make it happen."

Lewis said her favorite things about teaching are math and the students.

"Math is fun, and I love teenagers, so the combination just makes a classroom of pure fun," Lewis said. "They are so entertaining and hilarious. Watching a kid suddenly understand math is just so fun, I can’t even describe it. I can’t ever imagine going back to engineering after having a taste of this."

Michael Weathers, the school’s principal, described Lewis as a wonderful teacher. He said that's one reason she has been in the top 10 in the state each year with test scores, and instrumental in implementing the school's National Honor Society.

"You can always count on her to do anything I ask her to do, and the teachers count on her," Weathers said. "She is very helpful, willing and able to do anything that we ask her to do. It is a pleasure to have her at our school."

Students Faith Guy and Seth Holt agreed Lewis deserved to win the award.

"I have learned a lot this year and it has improved my math skills," Guy said. "I haven’t always been the best in math, but she has really helped me this year, and I really enjoy her."

"She’s helped me a lot and it has helped my math because I use to be a failing student, now I am a passing student," Holt said. "She interacts with us, and if one student is struggling she makes sure they get what they need to pass."

Lewis said building a relationship with the students is important.

"I believe learning respect starts at home, but I think the teacher has a responsibility, too, building that kind of relationship with the class," Lewis said. "I mess up sometimes and regret some of the things that come out of my mouth, but in general I try to build a relationship with the students and I think it pays off."

Looking ahead, Lewis said she has no plans to stop teaching anytime soon.

"I absolutely love teaching, I love the kids and families in this community – they are all so kind-hearted," Lewis said. "The kids are respectful and make it easy to teach. I have a fantastic boss, who is supportive and doesn’t get in the way, which is huge in education. My colleagues are fantastic, they share, work, and help each other. I will work at Enterprise until they kick me out," Lewis said.