The Gulfport Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) will host its annual Mother of the Year Gala on Saturday, April 26th at 6:00 p.m. at the Good Deeds Community Center in Gulfport. This year will mark special commemoration of the Unites States Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas decision. This year’s theme: 60 Years since Brown v. Board will pay homage to six outstanding women, symbolizing the six decades since the historic ruling. Guest speaker will be Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter.
Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter was named Superintendent of Ocean Springs School District on June 11th, 2012, by the Ocean Springs School District Board of Education. Dr. Coleman-Potter has 20+ years in public education that includes service as a teacher and a college professor.
After her first year of leadership in the Ocean Springs School District, the District now boasts an A rating and is the home of one of the nation’s Blue Ribbon Schools for Exemplary Academic Performance. In addition, the District ranks No. 22 in the nation’s sports programs and has received the State’s first National Math and Science Initiative Grant which has already accomplished increasing Advanced Placement student participation from 80 students to over 400 students.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Secondary Education from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Mississippi, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Jackson State University.
The legacies of two legendary women, Rev. Else Barnes and posthumously, Rev. RoseMary Hayes Williams; and four outstanding Mothers of the Year, representing local churches, will be honored.
Rev. Elsie Barnes is a graduate of Jackson State University with a degree in Music Education; a graduate of the Univeristy of Southern Mississippi in Elementary Education; and studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. After teaching music, elementary education, and special education reading for 38 years, she retired from public schools. She has taught music and voice for 35 years and her music students have competed with honors on the district and state levels.
Rev. Barnes was ordained to the ministry in 1999. She is the former pastor of St. James United Methodist Church and Ocean Springs and has taught women prisoners during her term in the Harrison County prison ministry. Her pastoral outreach continues as associate pastor at Haven Chapel United Methodist Church as well as ministering at the Boyington Rehab Center once a week.
For over 40 years, she has been member of the N.A.A.C.P. and holds membership in the national, state, and district music associations. She is currently Vice President of the Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association.
Rev. RoseMary Hayes Williams will be honored posthumously for her resounding dedication to faith, community and education. She enrolled in Mississippi Valley State College (now Mississippi Valley State University), at age 16, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She received her Masters Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, her Gifted Education Certification from William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and worked as a Mississippi Public School Teacher for 33 years. She also received her Course of Theological Study from Emory University Chandler School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia.
Governor William Winter appointed Rev. Williams to become the first pilot public kindergarten teacher in the State of Mississippi in 1976. She was a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church. She was called into the ministry and assigned to DeLisle-Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in 1996 where she served as pastor until her death.
She was a member of the United Methodist Women, Charter Member of Upsilon Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., National Council of Negro Women, Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, President of the Advisory Board for the Marsha Barbour Community Center, and a member of Friends of Pass Christian Schools.
Mrs. Virginia Beavers is representing Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Phillip McSwain, pastor. She is married to Paul Beavers and is the exceptional mother of three children and one godchild. She is a retired homemaker.
Mrs. Deloris Ann Canon is a member of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Harper, pastor. She is married to Clarence Cannon, Jr. and the remarkable mother of two children and eight grandchildren. She is a cosmetologist at Deloris’ Hair Flair Salon.
Ms. Sherwand McAllister is representing First Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Seymour Adolph, pastor. She is the extraordinary mother of two children and works as a Courtesy Pay Coordinator for Keesler Air Force Credit Union.
Ms. Crystal Danyail McKay attends Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. John W. Davis, pastor. She is the incomparable mother of two children. Ms. McKay is employed as an attendance officer for the Mississippi Department of Education.