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ECCC vice president honored for education leadership

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
April 30, 2002
A vice president at East Central Community College in Decatur and two other women were recognized Friday for outstanding leadership in education.
Dr. Lavinia Sparkman, vice president of instruction at ECCC, received the Jayne A. Burrows Sargent Award at an education leadership symposium on the Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus.
Melanie H. Hartley, superintendent of Leake County Schools, and Rebecca H. Taylor, coordinator for elementary, technology and testing at Columbus city schools, also received the award.
The award and symposium are named for Dr. Jayne A. Burrows Sargent, a former superintendent of Meridian public schools who now oversees Jackson's public schools.
MSU's Department of Education Leadership chose the award winners from among nominations submitted by educators and administrators statewide. The award goes to women educators.
The department, which sponsors the annual symposium and award competition, offers leadership development programs in public school systems and community colleges.
Department chairman Ned Lovell said the Sargent Award is designed to encourage women in education to strive for excellence and become role models for prospective and practicing school administrators.
Sparkman, who also gave the keynote speech, said she became an educator because she wanted to make a difference.
She charged her fellow educators to develop a vision, share it with others and take those people along with them as they set out to accomplish their goals.
After working as a nurse, Sparkman decided to enter education in 1976. Sparkman said she fell in love with the profession after she began teaching fourth grade.
Twelve years later she became a school counselor. Following that, she worked as a school-to-work manager and college instructor before becoming a college administrator.
Every time she had an opportunity to advance, she said, men gave her that opportunity because there were not many women in educational leadership roles.

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