Petal Primary School
Petal School District
Tessa Trimm has served Petal Primary School for 16 years as a teacher, an assistant principal, and, most recently, a principal for the last five years. In that time, she has built a flourishing school community by investing in the leadership of her team through robust, skills-based professional development and engaging students, families, and community members as critical stakeholders in the school improvement process. In the face of declining teacher retention statewide, for example, Trimm launched the successful New Teacher Academy at Petal to provide the individualized support and mentorship that new teachers need to be successful first-year teachers committed to a life as educators. Guided by her calling to service, Trimm has leveraged community relationships to increase student access to technology, create individualized tutoring and mentorship opportunities, and launch a blended pre-K program, integrating previously separate special education and general population classrooms to increase academic opportunity for all students. After only one year of implementation, the program has proven successful at creating a participatory learning environment in which all students have access to early interventions to strengthen the foundation for future success; on a recent state exam, 18 of 20 blended pre-K students were determined to be “kindergarten ready.” Trimm holds a Specialist credential from the University of Mississippi, a Master’s degree from William Carey University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.