Dr. Susan Avery Mitchell named Northwest Alumna of the Year

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SENATOBIA, MS (08/29/2017) Longtime educator Dr. Susan Avery Mitchell has been named Northwest Mississippi Community College's 2017 Alumna of the Year. Mitchell will be honored on Sept. 21 during Homecoming festivities on the Senatobia campus.

Mitchell grew up in Webster County, Mississippi, the daughter of Clifford and Edna Avery. Her parents encouraged her to continue her education past high school and she became the first in her family to graduate from college. After graduating from Europa High School in 1966, she came to Northwest on the recommendation of family friend Howard Carpenter, who was then chair of the Division of Education.

Mitchell attended Northwest from 1966-1968, graduating with an Associate of Arts in Business. While she was at Northwest, she was a member of the Student Education Association, a Leadership Honors student, Outstanding General Business student, a member of the Northwest Misses, a Sophomore Favorite, a member of Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders of America) and Who's Who Among American Junior College Students honoree.

She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Education and her Master of Education from Delta State University. She earned a Doctor of Education in Special Education Administration from the University of Alabama. She completed post-doctoral work in Educational Leadership and in Emotionally Handicapped/Behavior Disorders at the University of South Florida. At Delta State, she was a member of Pi Omega Pi National Business Education Honor Society and at the University of Alabama, the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education.

Mitchell has over 30 years of experience in education as a teacher, district supervisor, school administrator and university instructor. Even though her career began in the business world, she developed a love for teaching special education, and she has been an advocate for students with disabilities for many years. In 2000, she received the Landis M. Stetler award from the Florida Council of Exceptional Children (CEC), the highest honor awarded to a special educator in the state of Florida.

Among her many professional memberships she served as governor of the International CEC from 1998-2000, and president of the Florida Federation of CEC and Florida Association Student CEC Advisor from 1991-1994. She has volunteered for Special Olympics and Very Special Arts and at the Episcopal Camp for Individuals with Disabilities, Diocese of Mississippi among others.

She retired from education in 2006, after having worked throughout her career in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Ohio. She and her husband, Dr. Jerrel Mitchell split their time between Florida, Colorado and their home in Starkville.

In May 2014, Mitchell, along with a group of Northwest alumni, started organizing reunions for the classes of 1965-1969. The group has grown to 243 members, and they encourage those who attended Northwest during that time to join their Facebook page, which Mitchell administers. Anyone who attended Northwest is welcome to attend the reunions. "Our Facebook page and the reunions for our classes have been really successful. I'd encourage other classes to start Facebook pages and start having reunions," Mitchell said.

"I owe my accomplishments to my parents and all of the wonderful mentors I have had starting with Northwest and onward. I treasure the people who have helped shape my life and career. I do my best to follow them in giving back and mentoring others. I would not be who I am without those who took the time to help me and to encourage me to keep moving forward despite any obstacles and detours along the way," Mitchell said.

Also during Homecoming festivities, Northwest will induct new members of the Sports Hall of Fame. This year's inductees are Dr. Gerald J. Hasselman, basketball, 1964-66; Don Edwards, head coach women's basketball, 1982-present and Marcus Van Every, baseball, 1998-99.

A Homecoming Carnival for all ages will take place from 2-6 p.m. on the Ag Field across from the Haraway Center. The Homecoming barbecue meal, to be held in the Haraway Cafeteria, begins at 4:30 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Pre-game festivities will begin at 6:15 p.m., and kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. at Bobby Franklin Field in Ranger Stadium when the Rangers take on the Mississippi Delta Trojans. Northwest's presentation of the 2017 Homecoming Court and the crowning of the Homecoming Queen by Northwest President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears will take place at halftime.

For more information on the Homecoming activities contact Patti Gordon, director of Alumni Affairs and Development Operations at 662-560-1112 or e-mail pgordon@northwestms.edu.