Angela McCarty achieves remarkable learning gains with her 700+ students every year by empowering an exceptional group of committed teachers who share the belief that all children can succeed, and then working with them to launch innovative initiatives.

As an education leader in Mississippi for more than 26 years, Angela has done it all – she’s taught K-3rd grades, served as Dean of Students and more. In 2013, she opened Longleaf Elementary School in Mississippi’s Lamar County School District and has served as the principal ever since. Learning takes place on every square foot of her campus – inside and out.

In addition to multiple garden spaces, the school has launched numerous initiative that promote hands-on learning, outdoors. My all-time favorite initiative has been welcoming farm animals as part of the school’s social, emotional, and academic learning team. Over the years, this has included Willow the Pig, Clever the Bunny, chickens, and more. Unlike the rest of the teaching team though, Willow, Clever, and the other animals traveled home with students on the weekends in order to give them hands-on real-world lessons in responsibility. Talk about dedication to the whole child!

Angela’s team runs an exceptional STEAM program that encourages students to explore, experiment, problem-solve, and imagine themselves in STEAM careers. It’s critical that students in under-served schools receive the deep and effective experiential education they need to gain valuable STEAM career skills to ensure a bright future.

I’ve nominated Angela for the Wall of Fame because public education is not only her life’s work, it’s her passion. She will move mountains to make sure all of her students have the kinds of hands-on experiences that help them succeed.

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Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.