Moak is Chamber’s Educator of the Year for Brookhaven School District
Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Brookhaven High School teacher Dara Moak has taught health classes for more than a decade, and was recently named the district’s Educator of the Year, by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.
A Lincoln County native, Moak has taught Contemporary Health for 11 years, all at BHS. The one-semester course is a graduation requirement for all students, and can be taken any time from a student’s freshman to senior year.
“I enjoy the kids and I work with them a lot,” Moak said.
Moak wants her students to learn how to live healthy lives and make healthy choices as they go through their regular lives. Part of the way she does this is getting involved in community activities with her students, as well.
“I like to use things they relate to and see every day,” she said. “We try to do projects that expose the kids to what they need to really know, to live a healthy lifestyle wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.”
Moak is a graduate of Enterprise Attendance Center and Copiah-Lincoln Community College. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree from Delta State University, and is working on her Ph.D. at Concordia University of Chicago. Once she becomes Dr. Moak, she plans to keep teaching.
“I plan to stay in education, and maybe teach some adjunct classes at a higher level,” she said.
Cathy McComb — an educator at Enterprise — was an inspiration for Moak to become a teacher herself.
“She inspired me because of the way she taught and the activities she had us do,” Moak said. “She made me want to learn. She was the one who inspired me to go into teaching.”
For new teachers or those considering teaching as a career, Moak said, “Be an encourager, and learn to understand the students, because it makes the relationships better and it makes it easier to educate the students.”
In fact, Moak’s favorite part of her job is cultivating those relationships herself.
The Panthers teacher won a Distinguished Young Professionals award in 2017 in athletic training, but the Chamber’s award is her first in education.
“I’m thankful for the recognition as a teacher,” Moak said. “We don’t always get acknowledged, but it is nice to be recognized for the things we do every day.”