"There are 12 distinguished principals, one from each region, through the Missouri Association of Elementary School principals. So, March 9, which is a Saturday night, they will honor those 12 recipients," she said.
Since Morgan has been an elementary principal, she's also been involved with the Southeast Missouri Elementary School principals and every year the group chooses one assistant principal, one new principal and a distinguished principal.
"I was chosen by my colleagues, the people that are in the Southeast District with me," she said.
Criteria that must be met include being an active principal in which a commitment to excellence is evident which includes programs designed to meet the needs of students both academic and social and in which community ties with parents and local business organizations have been established, there should be evidence of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the educational community, be an active principal for at least five years at the time of nomination, must show a strong commitment to being principal by being a member of MAESP and NAESP, have the respect of the students, colleagues, parent organizations and the community at large, should be active and fulfill useful roles in the community as well as in the school and should show strong education leadership and operate orderly and purposeful schools, setting both high expectations for both staff and students.
Morgan is a native of Kennett and the daughter of Bob and Jean Paine. She is married to Darrell Morgan and she has three children -- Whitney and Tatum Lowry and Kelly Morgan. She is a 1982 graduate of Kennett High School. After graduation, she went on to attend the University of Mississippi, receiving her bachelors degree in home economics/education in 1986. Three years later, she earned her masters in home economics/education from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Then in 2002, she earned her specialist degree in educational administration from SEMO as well as taking a test and obtaining her superintendent's license.
According to Morgan, she knew that she wanted to pursue education as a career when she was a student in high school which she owes in large part to Helen Carter who was her Home Economics teacher. She worked for five years from 1986 to 1991 in the Gideon School system before moving to Kennett ISD. Once she came to Kennett, she began her career with the school system as a Family/Consumer Sciences teacher at the Kennett Middle School and the Kennett High School. Other capacities she has served in include assistant principal and principal of KMS, eventually going to South School as principal. She is in her eighth year as principal.
Morgan has also obtained her credentials as a turnaround specialist from the University of Virginia in January of 2012. When she came to work at South it was in school improvement and had been for around seven or eight years when they finally got out.
According to Morgan, she was enrolled in the program by the district and it is funded by the state.
"It was turning the school around from having bad test scores to having good test scores," she said, adding, "So, as of this year we were accredited with 100 percent."
Areas the school scored 100 percent includes Academic Achievement and Subgroup Achievement which ecompasses the subjects of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. Attendance was also included in the scoring.
In September of 2012, she was also granted a "Women and School Leadership Award" by the American Association of School Administrators.
When asked her feelings for being chosen as a Distinguished Principal, she said, "I was excited. It's an honor to be chosen by my colleagues and the people that I'm in the Principals Association with."
She also credits a lot of the success of South School to the teamwork of the teachers and staff at the school.
"I think the collaboration of everybody in the building, working together, makes us so successful," she said. One of the most memorable moments of her career is that of seeing the success of South School.
For those wishing to enter the field of education whether as a teacher or a principal, Morgan offered these comments, "I think you have to be dedicated. You have to have a love for people, for the teachers, for the kids. You have to put your whole self into it."