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Three Mississippi Teachers Awarded ‘Oscars of Teaching’ and $25,000 

Kristien “Krissy” Long delivered her baby on Nov. 21, 2023. A week later, she received an email saying that her school, Neshoba Central Elementary, would have a celebration of excellence ceremony in January that the Mississippi Superintendent of Education would attend. The email instructed faculty and staff to dress nicely and to be prepared for visitors. Long, who planned to still be on maternity leave, did not think much of the email.

A bit later, Neshoba Central Elementary Principal Tiffany Plott sent an additional email to Long encouraging her to hire a babysitter and join them for the celebration. She told Long that she was a big part of the school’s success and needed to be there to celebrate their hard work. Long still did not find it strange that her principal was putting such an emphasis on her presence at the assembly.

“I didn’t think anything about it because Neshoba Central is an excellent school,” Long told the Mississippi Free Press. “We’ve been an ‘A’ school district seven years in a row. Our kindergarten has been number one in the state on their readiness assessment for six years in a row.”

On Jan. 9, Long received another email from her principal asking for verification that she would be attending the celebration on the next day. Her insistence still did not rouse Long’s suspicions.

“Honestly, I was so excited when I got there,” Long said. “It was the first time I’d seen my students since before Thanksgiving, and they were all hugging me. It was like a big reunion. I was not expecting anything (else).”

Long could barely contain her shock when Milken Educator Awards Vice President Stephanie Bishop and Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Raymond C. Morgigno surprised her with a national education award and $25,000 at the assembly.

“There are so many teachers that work endless hours and work their fingers to the bone to do what’s best for the children and Mississippi,” Long said on Jan.14. “I was just overwhelmed with excitement and honor that they had noticed my talents and it had brought attention to

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