VFW selects 2 Brookhaven teachers of the year

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, February 6, 2020

Two teachers, Krista Russell and Dienna Moak, have been chosen as teachers of the year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cpt. Danny D. Entrican Post 2618 and VFW District 3.

Each year, VFW recognizes teachers for their outstanding commitment to teach citizenship education topics and promote America’s history, traditions and institutions effectively.

Moak teaches fifth and sixth grade gifted students in the Quest program at Lipsey Middle School. Moak spent several years at home taking care of her four children, but when two of her children were accepted into the gifted studies program, Moak was intrigued by the class.

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“It was such an asset to their education,” Moak said.

After finishing her degree at in elementary education and receiving her gifted certification from Mississippi College, Moak said she would spend as much time as she could observing the class of Gwen Case, a gifted teacher with more than 40 years of experience.

“She had a huge impact on my love for gifted children and in my gifted education career,” Moak said. “I have worked with children for over 25 years through gymnastics and cheerleading and now I am in the gifted classroom and love it.”

Russell teaches US history and AP US history at Brookhaven High School. Russell has taught for 15 years, and 14 of those have been at BHS.

“Being chosen as the VFW’s Teacher of the Year for high school is an honor that I was not expecting,” Russell said.

Russell has many interested. Over the years, Russell has taught AP microeconomics, AP human geography (social studies), world history, economics, government and Mississippi studies. Russell also started an archaeology club for students, and she currently teaches an online world geography class for students of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Teaching wasn’t the original plan for Russell. She has a Master of Science in geography, and she planned to work for a mapping firm or government agency. Teaching, however, was a good fit for Russell. She enjoys making classes fun and interesting.

“I enjoy planning field trips, doing activities and projects, and incorporating arts and crafts,” she said.