MDE names mother of OSD students 2022 Mississippi Parent of the Year

Published 2:24 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced today the 2022 Mississippi Parent of the Year is Tara Denevan, a mother of two students in the Oxford School District.

Denevan was nominated by the school district and is described as an amazing overcomer, innovator and a strong supporter of education for all students and teachers. She was also named Parent of the Year by OSD in 2019.

According to school officials, Denevan’s enthusiasm, love and passion for helping others is a gift she gives freely. She always finds time to volunteer for the school district and the community.

“Tara is absolutely amazing in everything she does,” said Audra Rester, Oxford Middle School Principal. “Her heart is always focused on what is best for the students and will do anything to meet their needs. Her desire to provide for our kids is amazing.” Denevan has two children in the Oxford School District, Brody (8th grade) and Lyla (4th grade).

Denevan has connected with many local businesses in the Oxford community to help with projects that benefits both the students and teachers.

To Denevan, it is important to be involved in your children’s education because students with involved parents tend to make better grades, exemplify better behavior in the classroom, and score higher on tests.

“Being so involved with the district and the community has shown my children the true meaning of ‘giving back’ and has taught them compassion and awareness of others,” said Denevan, who is also involved with her children’s classmates.  Denevan wants to show all children they are loved, celebrated and supported, which is vital to a positive learning experience.

Denevan’s participation in various service-oriented activities and organizations have led to student success. Serving as fundraising chair in 2017-2018, she led a team of parents with ticket sales of $55,000. A portion of the proceeds were used to purchase STEM bins for all classrooms for Bramlett Elementary.

With a giving heart, she has served as the Lovepack Chair and Food Drive Chair for several schools in the district. She was responsible for collecting food for the food pantry, organizing, and delivering food items to those in need. Among many of her positions, she has served as:  PTO Vice-President, Kindness Week Coordinator, Fundraising Chair, Fun Friday Coordinator, PTO Board member and currently, PTO President. One of her dearest projects, as of today, is serving as Charger Christmas Kids Founder. This project provides Christmas gifts to needy students in the school district.

Research has repeatedly shown that parental involvement is a critical factor in determining the academic success of students. As part of the annual Parent of the Year program, MDE asks each district to select an outstanding parent who has made a significant impact on school improvement efforts in the school district.

The committee reviewed numerous applications submitted by school districts and selected a Parent of the Year finalist from each of the four congressional districts. From those four district winners, the 2022 Parent of the Year is determined.