By Payton Moody
At Durant High School, one teacher stands out not only for her passion for science but for the remarkable connections she forms with her students. Ms. Jackie McMichael, a beloved educator, is not just a teacher; she is a mentor, a guide and an inspiration to her students.
Currently, McMichael teaches honors biology to freshmen and forensic science to seniors. She is also the lead sponsor for Durant High School’s Academic Bowl team and actively involved as a sponsor for the Esports program.
Her journey into education began during her college years when she had a revelatory tutoring experience. While helping a friend understand the intricacies of chemistry, McMichael witnessed the transformative “lightbulb” moment that so many educators cherish. It was this moment that compelled her to shift her academic focus to science education.
Reflecting on her own educational journey, McMichael fondly recalls the impact of two remarkable teachers – Ms. Pam Dellinger, her English teacher, and Mrs. Bobbie Pratt, her math teacher. “I can’t tell you how many times they probably listened to me ramble on, but they always made me feel important and valued,” she said. “So much of how I run my class today was inspired by them.”
For McMichael, the most rewarding aspect of being an educator is the profound connections she forms with her students. “My kids are so fun and silly and just a joy to be around,” McMichael said. “They are what make me look forward to coming to work every day. I really love getting to invest in their lives and seeing who they become.”
Her dedication to education is best encapsulated in the advice she holds dear – “remember your mission.” “I believe I was called into the field of education to serve a purpose, and each day I try to remind myself of that and try to give my best to my kids,” McMichael said.
Outside of her classroom, McMichael indulges in quilting, reading and cherishing moments with her friends, family and beloved dog, Lucille.
Jackie McMichael’s unwavering commitment to her mission is a testament to the transformative power of education.