MSMS announces Teacher of the Year


Gina Nguyen

Dr. Philip Benge was announced as this year’s MSMS Teacher of the Year after previously being nominated last year.

Luke Bowles, Managing Editor

Graphs come alive and functions talk in the classroom of Dr. Philip Benge, MSMS’s new Teacher of the Year.

“Dr. Benge’s catchphrases crack me up,” junior Elena Eaton said. “‘A function walks up to you on the street, what do you do?’ That’s hilarious.”

“One other thing I will never forget is his cringe yet informative graphs that he used to make with his arms and legs to teach precalculus and trig[trigonometry],” senior Shanay Desai said.

Each year, MSMS students nominate instructors for Teacher of the Year by writing one-page letters describing the impact a teacher has made on their lives. This year the selection process narrowed the nominees to Benge, economics teacher Dr. Kayla Hester and English instructor Mr. Thomas Richardson.

Benge, who was also nominated last year, reflected on his job.

“Teaching at MSMS is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Benge said. “Every day, it is a joy to work with this group of talented students and help them discover the joy and beauty of mathematics.”

Benge continued to express the significance of the award considering MSMS is a residential high school for gifted students with stringent teacher hiring requirements. 

“We have so many wonderful faculty members at MSMS, so being voted as teacher of the year is an absolute honor,” Benge said. “This past year has been a challenge for everyone, and I am sincerely thankful for the continued dedication to learning among the students and teachers at MSMS.”

Benge’s students gave additional comments on his excellence inside the classroom.

“What makes Dr. Benge special is his ability to take hard concepts of math and relate them to everyday jokes, memes and other funny situations,” Desai said. “He can adapt easily to a student’s needs and I really admire his desire to help every student understand math, no matter the length of time it may take.”

“Overall, Dr. Benge is understanding and encouraging, and he helps all his students towards being just a better person in general,” senior Nina Vo said

“Dr. Benge is an educator, and a good one, but what he means to his students is not encompassed by that title,” Eaton said. “Though Dr. Benge’s classes are at a level of difficulty that is equally revered and dreaded by most students, Dr. Benge makes sure that the content taught is understood by all before moving forward, and he doesn’t leave his students behind.”

MSMS Executive Director Dr. German McConnell and principal Mrs. Kelly Brown congratulated Benge on his award. 

“I have great respect for Dr. Benge because I know how much he loves the students at MSMS,” McConnell said. “I know that Dr. Benge has opportunities to teach at other high schools and universities, but he has chosen to remain at MSMS to help us accomplish our mission. The MSMS community and the state of Mississippi should be proud to have him serving our students.”

“We are fortunate to have faculty such as Dr. Benge on staff at MSMS,” Brown said. “Being ranked #1 faculty in the nation for four years is not something that just happens by accident. It takes a staff that is dedicated every day to do their best work when in front of their classes. It takes eating lunch in the cafeteria to continue talking about mathematics. I am so very grateful to have been able to work with Dr. Benge.”

Vo shared some final thoughts about Dr. Benge.

“When I think of a definition of a good person, I think of Dr. Benge,” Vo said. “Even though he makes us do math every day, he’s still the GOAT [greatest of all time].”