Tessa Horn named Teacher of the Year

By KAREN FIORETTI,

The Kosciusko Foundation for Excellence in Education (KFEE) named its district Teacher of the Year, Tessa Horn, on Monday.

Horn, who teaches Information & Communication Technology I and Technology Foundations courses at Kosciusko Junior High School (KJHS), is also a bus driver and assistant junior high cheerleader sponsor. KFEE awarded her $1,000.

“I was floored when Ms. McElwain and Mr. Ellzey told me,” she said of the award. “There are so many people that I work with that are deserving. It is such an honor.”

In a telephone interview with The Star-Herald Tuesday morning, Horn said she never wanted to be anything but a teacher.

“I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. It’s the only thing I could ever imagine doing,” she said, adding that teachers she had as a student at Central Holmes Academy only made her desire stronger. “I was blessed with wonderful teachers who pushed kids and inspired kids to do their best.”

After graduation from Central Holmes, Horn attended Holmes Community College before earning her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Delta State University. She then earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Belhaven University.

She started her career 16 years ago with special education teaching positions in Canton and Durant. She came to Kosciusko 12 years ago, initially remaining in special education.

“I taught special education for my whole career and then there was just an opportunity when another teacher moved to do half special education and half technology,” she said. Eventually, she moved entirely into technology education, which remains her focus at KJHS.

Horn said she loves teaching as much now as when she started, though her perspective on who benefits in her work has shifted.

“I love kids. I love the kids I teach. I love them and care about them and am there for them,” she said. “But what I’ve learned over the years is that they do so much for me.”

Asked how the pandemic has affected teaching, Horn said that — at the core — the mission remains the same.

“It’ll change some, but we’ll do what teachers do. We adapt and do what we need to do. We’ll do the best we can,” she said, adding that she is committed to ensuring that students who attend online this year rather than in person get the same level of education and attention as the children who show up in the classroom.

Horn has been married to her husband, Evan, for 15 years and the couple has a son, Braxton, who will attend fourth grade at Kosciusko Upper Elementary School this year.

In their free time, the family prefers outdoor activities.

“We enjoy being outside. I love to camp and garden and cook,” she said. “And we love Ole Miss sports!”

Other KFEE programs also continue forward

The Kosciusko Foundation for Excellence in Education continues scholarship and LEAP Center funding in addition to raising funds for the Skipworth Performing Arts Center. 

The KFEE Board will also provide five scholarships at $500 per student to assist these students to attend the Middle College program in conjunction with Holmes Community College. This is a partnership of the Kosciusko School District with Holmes to allow students to attend Holmes at the Attala Center to earn degrees while in high school. This funding will fulfill the tuition requirement for these students after sumner scholarships and federal funds pay the majority of tuition.  The School District will announce scholarship recipients later in the fall.