2014 - 2015 Teacher Of The Year

Mary Jones - Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School

The Meridian Star Article

By Jeff Byrd

A teacher who came back from a stroke nearly 2 1/2 years ago was named the Golden Apple Award Teacher of the Year.

Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School kindergarten teacher Mary Jones' selection as the 2014-15 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year was announced at an awards banquet Thursday night at Meridian Community College's Tommy E. Dulaney Center. Jones, 40, is a Newton native.

"I thank God first because without him I would not have been able to do what I have done after my stroke," Jones said.

She was also grateful for the recognition.

"This is the most wonderful thing ever," Jones said. "It's just amazing. For the sponsors to go out of their way to provide this and get teachers together and recognize us for our hard work, especially when we're staying up those late nights working, for them to take their time to show us this, it's amazing."

Jones was chosen as the Golden Apple Award Teacher of the Month for January. As Teacher of the Month, she received $250 cash and $250 in school supplies.

As the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year, on Thursday night, Jones received $2,500 in cash and a $2,500 scholarship to give to a student of her choice. Jones selected Northeast Lauderdale High School graduate Jackson Kercheval as the scholarship recipient. Kercheval's mother, Karen, accepted the scholarship award and said her son will attend Meridian Community College this fall.

"Jackson is the brother to my daughter's best friend," Jones said. "I've watched him grow up over the years. He is a nice, young, Christian man. He tries to help others. He built something at church for young teenage boys to use and help them."

Golden Apple Award sponsor Mike Reed, owner of the Meridian Family of Stations (NBC 30, CBS 24 and Fox 30) said Jones stood out when the sponsors met to select the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year.