COLUMBUS, Miss.--Sadie Mitchell is all about the process.

In addition to having a type-A personality, Mitchell thrives in systems-oriented situations where things are handled in a straight-forward manner.

That’s part of the reason Mitchell, a senior at Mississippi University for Women, said math always made sense to her. While there are many ways to solve math problems, it all comes down to the rules that have to be followed.

“My math teachers in high school were always great role models, and I always felt very comfortable in math class,” said Mitchell, who is from Corinth and is majoring in mathematics with teacher certification.

Mitchell’s success in and out of the classroom played a pivotal role in her recently receiving the Mississippi Professional Educators Linda Anglin Scholarship. The award will help her complete her final semester as a student teacher at DeSoto Central High School in Southaven and graduate from The W. She has accepted a job offer as a teacher at Center Hill High in Olive Branch.

“When I learned I received the scholarship I was so excited,” said Mitchell, who played volleyball at The W from 2017-19. She hopes she will have time to coach volleyball at the high school and club levels. “Any financial aid is always such a blessing, and I was so honored to be chosen.”

Mitchell said she comes from a long line of teachers. Both of her grandmothers are teachers, and she has a sister, an aunt and two cousins who are, too, but she is the only secondary mathematics teacher in her family. She said she is prepared for that next step because The W has played a huge role in preparing her for her first job.

“My professors have been so amazing and helpful throughout my whole college experience,” Mitchell said. “They were always available when I needed extra help, they gave great advice and they encouraged me along the way. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without them and all the help and support they have provided me with.”

Mitchell said she learned early on she had to prioritize things in her life to handle her academics and to play volleyball. She always made sure her work was done early and that she was proactive and managed her time. She said there were weeks when volleyball took up all of her time, but she said she itemized the things she needed to do so she could visualize what needed to be done.

Last fall, Mitchell said she had to make one of the hardest decisions in her life when she opted not to play volleyball in her senior year. Due to COVID-19, The W postponed the volleyball team’s fall season until the spring semester. Mitchell said the internship and the fact she married Josh Harbor on Dec. 11, 2020, forced her to realize she had to sacrifice volleyball to stay on schedule. While Mitchell admits she would love to have her senior season back, she made the most of her time on the team in three years.

“Being a student-athlete prepared me for teaching in so many ways,” Mitchell said. “It has taught me how to persevere and work hard. I am very passionate about my sport, and I've always made a point to put in a lot of hard work. It has also taught me how to multitask. Juggling two things at once is a necessity for teaching. If being an athlete is something that anyone wants to do in college, it is so possible with dedication and drive.”

Dr. Bonnie Oppenheimer, who serves as Sadie’s academic advisor, said Mitchell always has been a motivated student and athlete at The W.

“It takes a lot of dedication to focus on mathematics and mathematics education,” said Oppenheimer, who is department chair and professor of mathematics at The W. “Her preparation here means she has a thorough grounding in mathematics and an excellent set of instructional skills.  Sadie is going to be a great teacher. She has already accepted a position for the fall, as is typical for the people who decide to get their licensure in mathematics at The W.”

Mitchell said dedication has only been part of the process. She said hard work, organization and passion also have been integral pieces on her journey to becoming a teacher. Her goal is to inspire the next generation of teachers, just like she found that spark at The W.

“Without passion, there would be no reason for me to want to teach or coach,” Mitchell said. “I think it is something that not everyone can do, and it truly has to be a calling you want to follow and choose to work at every day.”


March 24, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino
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