Emily Ragland receives national recognition for talents in classroom

ByNorthside Sun Staff
KIPP Memphis teacher Emily Ragland with a student

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Emily Ragland, a former Northsider and graduate of Jackson Academy, 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. She will receive $10,000 in recognition of her exemplary work in the classroom.

Ragland is the lead kindergarten teacher at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary School.

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.

Ragland is a 2005 graduate of Jackson Academy where she a National Merit Finalist, Hall of Fame selection and Cum Laude Society inductee.

She received one of the first Patricia Thompson Lott Scholarships to Ole Miss, where she earned a double major in English and political science. 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, Chi Omega sorority and voted a campus favorite.

She is the daughter of Lee and Jana Ragland of Madison, and follows her mother into the teaching profession. Jana Ragland has been a classroom educator for 36 years, the last 21 at JA.

A member of KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary’s founding faculty, Emily 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, she was one of 11 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.”