Malaika QuartermanMarch 5, 2018 (Jackson, Miss.) - Jackson Public Schools (JPS) named Belhaven alum Malaika Quarterman '05 as the 2017-2018 JPS Teacher of the Year. JPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Freddrick Murray made the announcement during a surprise visit to her school on January 29, 2018.

Quarterman is the chairperson of the theatre arts program at Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC), and though she has been the department chair and instructor since 2011, her theatre teaching experience began nearly two decades ago.

In the summers of 2001, 2002 and 2005, the versatile Quarterman traveled extensively as an artist and instructor, teaching musical theatre camps at the University of Miami to performing in mime and dance workshops throughout Europe. Her current leadership roles include serving as director for the International Thespian Troupe 4909 and as a board member of the Fondren Theatre Workshop.

One of her more recent achievements was to reinstate Power APAC's National Honor Society for theatre students. This group earns nationally-recognized awards and competes at the state and national level for scholarships and industry recognition. She is very proud of the success of her students in recent years. Many of her graduates have obtained full scholarships to the universities of their choice. Some of have been hired for professional theatre productions at New Stage and others have been offered movie contracts.

Power APAC Principal Dr. Sandra Reed recognized her quality teaching and said, "From an academic perspective, Mrs. Quarterman sets the bar very high for all of her students and works alongside them to achieve lofty academic goals. She sets the same high bar for all of her students without regard to their individual circumstances - rather, she works to provide accommodations and support that enables all of her students to be successful."

"I have personally witnessed many students' lives positively changed because of the contagious passion for education that Malaika has poured out and nurtured in the lives of her students," said Nancy Smylie, lead volunteer at Power APAC. "She is a superior teacher, arts education advocate, community volunteer, all-encompassing professional and perpetual dynamo of passion and encouragement for every life that God blesses with her presence."

Quarterman earned a Master of Arts in theatre from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts in theatre performance from Belhaven University. She graduated with honors from both institutions. She will be considered with other outstanding teachers across the state for the Mississippi Teacher of the Year award.