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Benton named MPS 2002 Administrator of the Year

By Staff
SHARPENING SKILLS Kim Benton, principal of Oakland Heights Elementary School in Meridian, works Tuesday with third-graders Malia Pryor, 9, far left, and Laderrick Roberts, 9, on their reading skills. Photo by Chris Allen Baker / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
April 10, 2002
Kim Benton once attended Oakland Heights Elementary School as a student and later worked there as a teacher.
Today she is the school principal and the Meridian Public School District's top administrator school officials named her Administrator of the Year on Tuesday.
Benton enjoys the challenges of educating children. She said the students "we teach will be our future leaders. What they learn now is very important in this stage of their lives."
Benton, 40, has been Oakland Heights principal for seven years. She has been with the Meridian Public School District 19 years, including stints as a teacher and district office staff member.
A Meridian High School graduate, Benton attended Meridian Community College and received bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Mississippi State University.
Benton is married to Dr. Gary Benton, a retired professor at Mississippi State University who chaired the Department of Education at the MSU-Meridian Campus.
They have two children, including a daughter at MSU who is considering an education career.
Monica Topcik, an Oakland Heights first-grade teacher, praised Benton's work. Topcik said that reading to children is a high priority for Benton.
Lynn Florreich, an Oakland Heights speech language therapist, said that Benton "is compassionate and a visionary. She is always planning for the future."
McLin said that a committee of administrators selected Benton as Administrator of the Year.