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Top Teachers 2023

Teaching is not for the faint of heart. Most of us would count it among the world’s toughest, but most rewarding, professions. Every day, educators across the Coast mold young minds and fill them with knowledge, giving them a significant role in shaping the future.

What makes an outstanding teacher — qualities like empathy, enthusiasm, patience and adaptability? Certainly all these and more, as well as a certain something that can’t be defined — a quality that allows a teacher to connect with and inspire a student like no other.

We are pleased to celebrate the Coast’s most extraordinary educators with our Top Teachers 2023 Contest. We had an overwhelming response, receiving hundreds of nominations. Meet the winners from each of our three counties.


Chaundrea Allen

North Gulfport Elementary & Middle School

What the nominators say:

  • “Chaundrea is the epitome of an exemplary educator. She has compassion in action for her scholars.”
  • “Mrs. Allen teaches from the heart, and the passion which drives her is one that changes lives daily.”
  • “Mrs. Allen is a teacher like no other. She loves her students unconditionally. She is phenomenal.”

What the principal says:

“Over the past two years, I have seen the continuous growth of Mrs. Allen through community outreach and mentoring of teachers. She uses her planning time to provide support for teachers on campus and tutor students. She has displayed patience, endurance and dedication while working with students with disabilities and learning deficits. She wants the best for her students and always advocates for their achievement.

Mrs. Allen is a teacher who goes above and beyond for the success of students and is committed to her duties. Each month, she provides an opportunity for parent engagement. She has ice cream socials, paint parties, game nights, etc. She builds lifelong relationships with her students and parents. Mrs. Allen is dependable and an integral part of our faculty and staff.”

– Milton Ray III, principal North Gulfport Elementary & Middle School



Kaleigh Broom

Arlington Heights Elementary (Pascagoula)

What the nominators say:

  • “She’s a blessing! She treats her kinders like they are her own. She’s so loving and sweet.”
  • “She was born to teach. She loves her children, and she gives her all!”
  • “She is the most amazing teacher I have ever seen. She has helped my child in ways I cannot explain.”

What the principal says:

“She has implemented innovative and effective teaching strategies and activities that engage and challenge her students and are tailored to their individual needs and interests. She has established a positive and nurturing classroom environment that promotes respect, kindness and inclusivity and encourages parents and families to be involved and supportive of their children’s learning. To put it simply, her students and parents admire her! Even as a new teacher, Ms. Broom has shown leadership and collaboration skills by mentoring and supporting other teachers, sharing her knowledge and experience with the wider community and advocating for education policies and resources that benefit young learners and their teachers.

Bottom line, Ms. Broom is deserving of any reward or recognition that is presented to her. Her dedication to her students is amazing.”

– Dr. Latoya Worthen, principal Arlington Elementary School



Robin Craft

Kindergarten Waveland Elementary

What the nominators say:

  • “Mrs. Craft has a patience for kids like no other, and you can see she enjoys what she does.”
  • “She is the best. She makes learning fun. She loves the children and wants them to learn all they can.”
  • “Many nights, she can be found in her classroom well after dark working to provide our kids the BEST.”


What the principal says:

“Ms. Craft is a huge asset to our school and is an amazing mentor to her peers. Ms. Craft works countless extra hours to make sure her students receive the best education possible. You can find Ms. Craft here on the weekends and late into the evenings prepping and planning for her upcoming lessons. Ms. Craft greets her students with a hug and a smile each and every day. Her classroom is a “family,” and the love can be felt the minute you enter the room. You will find the smallest achievement being celebrated and students cheering each other on during every task assigned. The culture of the classroom is inviting and positive.

Not only is Ms. Craft an amazing support to her students, but she also offers support to each of her peers. Her door is always open, and she is always willing to lend a helping hand. Her peers value her support and look up to her as a mentor. Her peers are always eager to share the stories of the support she has provided and sing her praises.”

– Joann Mestayer, principal Waveland Elementary

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