MSMS Math Department welcomes new faculty


Caleb Jenkins

MSMS students and staff excitedly welcome two new members to the math faculty.

Hayden Anderson and Amy Zhang

Two new mathematics instructors joined MSMS this academic year after a former teacher of the year left for a new position.

This year, MSMS’s math department welcomed Spencer Hall and Dr. Andrew Pham as first-semester math teachers. Both are Mississippi natives who have previous teaching experience, particularly at the college level.

Hall, a graduate of Falkner High School and Mississippi State University, received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics and earned his master’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics. He previously taught at FHS and East Mississippi Community College and was a graduate assistant at MSU. Hall initially majored in aerospace engineering in college and taught an introduction of physics class the summer before starting at MSMS for MSU’s Summer Bridge Program through the Bagley College of Engineering, which was aimed at incoming freshmen from underrepresented backgrounds. Since starting at MSMS, he has been impressed by students and faculty alike.

“I’m glad to be part of a community that really values learning and being around students who want to learn,” Hall said. “I’m excited to work with the students and be part of this community.”

Pham graduated from St. Patrick High School and earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in mathematics from the University of Mississippi. He joined MSMS as an adjunct professor for the first semester and is also a visiting assistant professor at MUW. On top of teaching, he does research in pure math and discrete math. He is excited that MSMS offers the subjects he teaches—Calculus II and Multivariable Calculus—and hopes to make higher math more accessible for younger students.

“I’m really glad to have the chance to teach advanced math to high schoolers,” Pham said. “The students have been very enthusiastic about learning the material, and I’m very interested to see how the remainder of the semester will go.”

Since MSMS is known for its difficult classes and college-like schedules, many teachers come to the school for those experiences that are much different from other high schools.

“I was interested in working with…academically gifted students,” Hall said. “In looking into the job, I learned that the faculties have been rated very highly before so that was also something that attracted me: working with great faculty members. Since I’ve been here, I’ve definitely found that to be the case. They’ve been great, helping me get acclimated.”

As a visiting professor’s assistant at MUW, Pham expressed interest in the amount of opportunities that MSMS gives its students, such as the previously mentioned difficult courses and college-like schedule.

“Before I actually came here, I went online to the MSMS website and looked at the course catalog, and MSMS had a lot of classes that I didn’t even know could be offered to high school students,” Pham said. “I know that whenever I was in high school, the highest class would be Calculus AB, so I thought it would be a really, really cool opportunity to try to teach the math classes here.”

Since the opportunities at MSMS are what inclined Pham and Hall to come to MSMS, it is no surprise that they are interested in helping provide more opportunities here; however, as it is their first year here, they have decided to take a more laid-back approach this year as they need to get acclimated to MSMS cultures and traditions. However, just like the students here, they find it really hard not to join in with the traditions here immediately.

“I’m definitely interested in doing clubs,” Hall said. “…I’m certainly willing to work with the other math teachers on sponsoring and helping with the math clubs.”

Hall and Pham are very excited to work this year, and though the future is unforeseeable, one thing they do know is that MSMS will hopefully be their family for a very long time.

“As far as the future, my biggest goal is to work with the great faculty that’s already here to improve the classes,” Hall said. “Depending on student demand, I want to see if there’s classes that they’re interested in that aren’t offered, and I hope to open up opportunities for those who want it.”