Into the Unknown:
Navigating Your MTC Experience


Forward: The Mississippi Teacher Corps, 1982-present

The history of the Mississippi Teacher Corps is documented here by program co-founder, Dr. Andy Mullins.

About the author: Dr. Andrew P. Mullins is arguably one of the most influential educators in Mississippi’s history. His leadership and stewardship of the Mississippi Teacher Corps throughout its history has been invaluable. A native of Macon, Mississippi, Dr. Mullins began his career as a high school teacher and administrator for eight years at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Jackson after graduating from Millsaps College with a B.A. in History. During this time period, he also served as the school’s head football and tennis coach, even winning the state’s Tennis Coach of the Year award in 1977.


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Chapter 1: What is teaching really like?

Chapter 1 looks at the perception vs. reality of teaching. Often, your idealism and expectations will conflict with the realities you experience in the classroom.

About the author: After graduating Millsaps College, Jake Warren (MTC Class of 2013) taught in Marks and lived in Clarksdale. He then moved to San Antonio, TX, where he designs curriculums for an Upward Bound program based out of University of Texas-San Antonio. He also serves as an Assistant Director for a tutoring company.

Chapter 2: What are critical-needs schools?

This chapter looks specifically at what it is like to work in a critical needs school, and the challenges students and teachers face.

About the author: Bobby Latona, MTC Class of 2016, has more than a decade of combined experience in education, youth development and student affairs. He has acquired teaching experience with adults and youth domestically as well as internationally. He was awarded the 2018 Teacher of the Year and District Teacher of the Year for Clarksdale High School and Clarksdale Municipal School District respectively. He received BFA from Humboldt State University with a major in Studio Art in 2013.


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Chapter 3: Accepting and Implementing feedback

Your first summer will be full of failures and feedback. Being able to accept and implement feedback will be the key to becoming a strong teacher.

About the author: Ashley Ingram (MTC Class of 2016) taught 9th and 10th grade Biology at West Point High School in West Point, MS. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and completed her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University.

Chapter 4: Issues of race in Critical-needs schools

About the author: Dr. William Tucker (MTC Class of 2016) taught English for two years at Meridian High School.


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Chapter 5: What do the students think?

Your students will be funny, kind, hyper, sleepy, mean, and much more. This chapter explores their perspectives on education, their teachers, and what things are important to them.

About the author: Haley Fleming (second from the top-left), MTC Class of 2016, taught 9th grade Leadership, Honors Geometry, and Algebra 1 at Meridian High School. She also coached Cross Country and Track and Field.


Chapter 6: Creating a classroom management plan

A management plan is a key component to success in the classroom.

About the author: Megan Duff (MTC Class of 2014) is currently finishing up her fourth year of teaching 8th grade English and Reading at Okolona Jr. High School. In the upcoming year, she will be transitioning into administration as she enters the Mississippi Principal Corps program at Ole Miss.

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Chapter 7: Creating a lesson plan

When it comes time to plan a lesson, where do you start? This chapter presents strategies on how to effectively plan, even if you are starting with nothing.

About the author: Stacy Filocco, MTC Class of 2009, just finished her 9th year of teaching and coaching. She taught Spanish for 4 years at Byhalia High School before relocating to Tampa, Florida where she continues to teach. She credits MTC and her Byhalia students with shaping her into the teacher she will be for years to come.

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Chapter 8: Collecting and using data

Your school requires the use of data. So what data should you use and how should it be used?

About the author: Molly Goldwasser, MTC Class of 2007, is the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Duke University. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University.


Chapter 9: The first week of school

About the author: Kate Workman is the 6th grade Social Studies teacher for Byhalia Middle School. Having no life experience other than being a student, a teacher, and a Chick-fil-a employee, Kate is excited to see what kind of fun she can find when school finally ends.


Chapter 10: Creating your classroom climate

About the author: Kelsey Carr (MTC Class of 2016) taught biology for two years at Aberdeen High School.

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Chapter 11: Building Rapport with Students

About the author: Jessica Muñoz, MTC Class of 2016, received her bachelors degree from Willamette University in Spanish and Environmental Studies. She taught 8th grade science at North Panola Junior High School and Spanish at South Panola High School. She plans to pursue a PhD in Second Language Studies- Spanish at the University of Mississippi.


Chapter 12: Work/life balance

About the author: Kegan Aspelund, MTC Class of 2016, is a former Peace Corps volunteer originally from California who wanted to continue both his service and education by starting a teaching career through MTC. His next adventure will include walking from New York back to Mississippi and then teaching abroad.

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Chapter 13: Becoming involved in your community

About the author: Amanda Schnugg, MTC Class of 2016, graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in English. She found her love of teaching in the Peace Corps while teaching in Ethiopia. Amanda has taught English at Byhalia High School for two years and will be beginning a new challenge teaching Social Studies at Byhalia Middle School.

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Chapter 14: persevering through the experience

The MTC experience is very hard. Perseverance is necessary, especially when hitting low points. This chapter guides you through what mentalities are necessary for your success.

About the author: Tayler Pettersen, MTC Class of 2016, is from London, Ontario, Canada and graduated from Ole Miss with a Bachelor's in Political Science in 2016. She went directly into MTC after graduating, and has in Mississippi since 2012. She will always be grateful for the years I spent in the classroom, and  looks forward to whatever chapter comes next in my life, however unknown it may be!


Chapter 15: Building Partnerships within your school

As a teacher, you have to work with those around you. This chapter will help you understand the importance of partnerships and how to foster a work environment that supports students.

About the author: Sandra Carver, MTC Class of 2016, taught English at West Point High School. She is originally from Manassas, Virginia, but her family is originally from Mississippi. Sandra began working as the MTC Program Coordinator after completing MTC.

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Chapter 16: Making adjustments for the 2nd year

Your second year is in many ways a second chance. It is important to take what you have learned and make adjustments. 

About the author: Ian Jules Gutgold, MTC Class of 2015, is a PhD student in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on African American schools during the Jim Crow era. He taught high school social studies in Hollandale and Aberdeen.


Chapter 17: Life after MTC

Once you've finished MTC, what's next?

About the author: Laura Manion, MTC Class of 2004, is a National Board Certified Teacher based in San Francisco. She is a graduate of St. John's College, University of Mississippi, and The University of the Pacific. She has taught math and English in public, charter, and independent schools, and is currently a teacher and administrator at Live Oak School in San Francisco.

Chapter 18: Teaching Social Studies

About the authors:

Klara Aizupitis (MTC Class of 2017) taught history in Clarksdale, MS and currently teaches at South Panola High School.

Austin Howell (MTC Class of 2017) teaches history in Marshall County, MS at his original placement of H.W. Byers Attendance Center.

Klara Aizupitis

Klara Aizupitis

Austin Howell

Austin Howell

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Chapter 19: Teaching English

About the author: Andrew Meyers (MTC Class of 2017) taught English and ACT prep in West Tallahatchie during his time in the program.

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Chapter 20: Teaching Science

About the author: Kristen Grauer-Gray (Class of 2011) taught chemistry, biology, and physical science at Noxubee County High School from 2011-2013. She first learned to teach as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, where she specialized in devising science demonstrations from discarded water bottles and items found in village markets. She is currently a science teacher trainer and wandering lab demonstrator in Liberia.

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Chapter 21: Teaching Math

About the author: Timothy Leake, MTC Class of 2015, taught math at North Panola High School in Como, MS. He then taught math at St. Andrews in Jackson, MS for a year before beginning law school at the University of Michigan.

Chapter 23: Coaching

About the author: Dr. Hunter Taylor, MTC Class of 2006, taught math in Jackson, MS. Dr. Taylor is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi and is an instructor/recruiter for the Mississippi Teacher Corps. Previously, he spent 10 years coaching basketball on the college and high school levels. He and his wife, Brittany, reside in Oxford and have two boys, Yates and Simms.

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