September 17, 2017
University of Mississippi graduate Emily Ragland (BA English and political science ’09) was one of 11 teachers nationally honored with a 2017 Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award. She was selected from more than 5,000 eligible teachers nationwide to win this year’s accolade, recently presented during a ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada and receive $10,000 in recognition of her exemplary work in the classroom.
Ragland, the lead kindergarten teacher at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary School, is the granddaughter of Louise Ragland of Oxford.
The Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award is an annual award, given to a select group of educators from the national KIPP network of college-preparatory public charter schools. Teachers are chosen from among KIPP’s teachers nationwide.
Following her graduation from Jackson Academy, she was selected as one of the first ten recipients of the Patricia Thompson Lott Scholarship to Ole Miss. At Ole Miss she was ASB director of community service, and a member of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Mortar Board, and Chi Omega sorority and voted a campus favorite.
A member of KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary’s founding faculty, Emily Ragland is entering her sixth year teaching at the school. In addition to teaching Kindergarten full-time, she serves as Kindergarten grade level chair and content leader for math and reading. She also teaches a lunchtime Gifted and Talented class, and sponsors a student running club. She organizes all of her school’s Kindergarten field trips annually, securing grants to keep these activities going in the wake of state budget cuts. On top of her teaching duties, Ragland was one of eleven Memphis educators selected as a 2016-17 Tennessee SCORE Fellow. In this capacity, she meets with state legislators to advocate for strong education policies, and has hosted state senators and representatives in her classroom.
“We are thrilled that Emily was selected to receive this award,” said Julie Polusejko, school leader of KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary. “She truly models what it looks like to establish a positive classroom culture and achieve academic results.”
The Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award honors the legacy of Harriett Ball, a visionary educator and mentor teacher who passed away in 2011.
“Emily Ragland and her fellow Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award recipients are setting the standard for all of us at KIPP,” said Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation. “With their hard work and dedication, they are leading the way in fulfilling KIPP’s mission of preparing students to live choice-filled lives.”