EVELYN STRICKLAND: Celebrating 50 years in the classroom #teacherlife

“Bumps in the road doesn’t mean the road has disappeared!” “Keep on keeping on!” “Anything worth having is worth working for!” “Strive for your goals!”

Current and past students of Evelyn Strickland are all familiar with her words of encouragement. Those words and her shining example have made a huge impact over her 50 year teaching career.

“Thank you, Lord, for allowing me the privilege of coming in contact with each and everyone of my students,” Strickland said.

As Strickland begins her 50th year of teaching, current and former students love the Winona Christian School math teach who has a special way of explaining algebra and life.

Former student, Felicia Woods said Strickland has made a huge impact on her life and the lives of both of her children.

“She goes far and beyond her job,” Woods said. “There is no way the school could ever pay her what she is worth. We love her so much!”

“Love this precious lady,” said Jennifer Ingram. “She always goes above and beyond for others!”

“Anyone who knows her is truly blessed,” said Kalin Myree Barefoot. “She is one special lady and special teacher. She is the only person that has helped me not only understand math, but understand life. She has made a huge impact on my life and we love her very much.”

“I loved her as a teacher,” said Lisa Parsons. “She taught me algebra and boy, did she earn her money! She was so patient with me!”

Strickland’s love for teaching began in the mid-60s. She did her practice-teaching under Dr. Tom Dulin, who had been her high school math teacher at Vaiden High School, and then Dulin hired her to teach junior high math at Winona Public School in the fall of 1968. Strickland transferred to Montgomery-Carroll Academy on March 2, 1970, and taught math with two grades in the classroom for the remainder of that year in Purnell Hall. In the fall of 1970, there were five grades in individual classrooms at the current location on 51 South with the highest grade being 9th grade. The school year 1971-1972 included the first senior class and is the year the school now known as Winona Christian School (formerly Winona Academy) joined the Mississippi Private School Association. During this and the following years, Strickland has taught from 5th through 12th grades in mathematics, as well as World History, Family Life Education and she has kept study halls.

During this time, she met a local minister, William Ladell Strickland, fell in love and married in 1978. Since then, Rev. Strickland has served as pastor at Covenant Baptist near French Camp, Unity Baptist near Alva, Wood Springs Baptist near Tomnolen and Mt. Vernon Baptist near Eupora. He is currently serving as a supply minister for area churches. And while serving as a pastor’s wife is a full-time job, she also uses that spirit of ministry in the classroom.

“I absolutely love her!” said Cari Tharp Yates. “I will never forget her love for Christ and being the light for each of us!”

Dawn Russell Geno wasn’t a student of Strickland’s but was a co-worker at Winona Christian School for a time.

“She was the most supportive person I met, especially when she found out that I was marrying into the ministry. Such a sweet, encouraging lady!”

Strickland said some of her most memorable moments have been observing so many former students who have accomplished so much in ministry, vocations, family life, service to the nation and many other areas.

“I love watching young people grow and mature,” Strickland said. “Of course in the classroom, it is the joy of seeing the ‘light bulb’ come on when understanding takes place!”

“Her contagious smile and kindness for others are just a few of the things I remember and still get to witness going to the school now,” said Patty Williams Day. “She loved me 30 years ago, and still loves me today!”

“Oh my goodness, I miss this woman so much!” said Rachael Hunt. “She was THE BEST math teacher I ever had! She used to live down the road from me also, when I lived in Kilmichael. Such a sweet woman!”

“I am so thankful,” Strickland said. “My advice to new teachers would be to get-to-know your students. Learn what they like to do in their free time and what their aspirations are. Then to watch them grow and become! My advice to students would be to set both long-term and short-term goals and not give up!”

And it is that encouragement and her words of wisdom that students remember as much as her love for her work and her students.”

“She taught me a life lesson that I have always remembered: ‘Today’s choices may limit future opportunities,’” said Ana Nicole Blakely.

“There are so many memories I have of (Evelyn Strickland),” said Mary Neal. “One of my favorite quotes she ever wrote on the chalkboard: ‘Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.’”

“I think about quotes she told us ALL the time,” said Jessica Austin Welch. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” I never understood then, but boy I have mastered some excellent LEMONADE! And the PDA talk weekly! “Don’t choose a date that you wouldn’t want as a mate!’ LOVE HER BIG!! Precious, sincere person!!”

“She’s there for all the right reasons,” said Wesley Greene. “She has always gone over the top for our children.. We love Ms. Strickland!”



“Mrs. Strickland was one of my favorites, as well as my brother Cliff. Glad to see she is doing well! Hope her 50th year is great!” –From Cliff Bond and Stacey Bond Hodges

“She taught me! Such a sweet lady!” – Maisie Price Lee

“God has blessed Winona Christian School with her love and wisdom. Thank you <s. Strickland for your love!” – Jan Bennett

“Never had her as a teacher but she was always nice when I was at The Winona Times from 1993-1995 and when I go back now for events there.” – Steve Diffey

“I didn’t have her as a teacher but she is my aunt. I want to congratulate her on 50 years as an educator! She is a very kind hearted loving lady who goes above and beyond her call of duty. I am so Blessed to have Evelyn Strickland as my aunt. We love you so much Aunt Evelyn!” – Sherry Hays

“My mom has touched so many lives!! I am thankful for her and the example she has set for me!” — Amanda Strickland Dean

“Yes, I had here as a teacher, loved her then and love her now! Great lady! Hope you have a great year!” — Donna McNeer

“She didn’t teach me in school, but she’s taught me lots by example. I’m blessed to have her as my aunt.” — Annette Strickland

“What a great teacher, leader, role model, and friend!!! Such a great lady!!!” –Sara and Clint Cooper

“I love Mrs. Evelyn! She is absolutely the sweetest lady!! She is a shoulder to cry on and always there when you need someone to talk to.” — Barbie Baker York

“CONGRATS to Evelyn Strickland!!!” — Ron Collins

“THE HUGGINS’ & GARRETT’S LOVE HER!!!!! And I’m so proud to call her my FRIEND!!!!” – Carla Garrett

“What a precious, respectful lady. Love her! Best wishes Ms. Strickland!” — Rosa Lynn Alford

“She is such a special lady. Not only was she a great teacher, but a great example for the young lives who were in her classes! I will never forget her lesson on being mindful of the choices you make every day. I think of that often!!” — Chrissy Bigbee Branch

“Oh my, I loved Mrs. Strickland as a teacher for my children and as a coworker. Thank you for all you have done. Precious lady and wonderful educator.” — Sonya Williams Mims

“Sweet, sweet lady!” — Brenda Ramage Mims

“One of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met!” — Ashley Taylor O’Briant

“She was there from the beginning to end of my school years and I wouldn’t of had it any other way! Such a sweet woman. She will always be one of my role models!” — Mary Margaret Ferguson

“She is the sweetest and most sincere person I think I have ever met. I hope she realizes the influence she has on the students!! My family loves her dearly!” — Melissa King Nester

“Sweet lady!” — Tammy Spence

“A genuine, Christian lady and the best asset of Winona Christian school by far!!! You can count on her word as truth!” — Terri Farmer Holt

“I love her dearly. I treasure the years I had her for my teacher. Her love and compassion for her students helped to shape me into who I am today.” — Lee Waller

“Evelyn and I graduated from Vaiden High the same year and were best friends! I am not surprised at her love and dedication to serve our Lord in this way!!! She is an awesome Christian lady who loves her students!!!! So thrilled she is still doing this!!!! Love you from the other ‘Evelyn’!!!!” — Evelyn Williams

“Wow!!! That is amazing!! Congratulations Mrs. Strickland, you deserve a grand celebration!” — Melissa Knight Montalvo

“Love Mrs. Strickland! Great teacher, great quotes, great role model!” — Kathrine Moorman Crowder

“Such a wise woman!!! So sweet too!!” — Brittany Nichole Arnold

“Touching so many lives. Her students are truly blessed.” — Shirley Floyd Swindle

“Mrs. Strickland was amazing lady. She made her classes exciting to learn more. She explained everything to the T. Always willing to go the extra mile to help anyone and at anytime.” — Mark Stafford

“She didn’t teach me in school but, oh what an impact she made on my life. I could not have raised my children without her. Love you always!” – Bea Woods

“I didn’t have her as a teacher, but she started out as a young teacher, when I was in high school…great job, Evelyn!” — Sarah Jordan Dickson

“Hope you have a great blessed year!!!! Such sweet compliments! You have made an impact on a lot of lives!!! God bless you!” — Faye Dewberry

“I am a retired teacher (for 33 years). I am truly amazed that she is still teaching!! What a blessing that she is still helping students!!” — Annette Blaine

“She was my teacher my senior year at WCS. Loved her and to this day when I see her she still remembers and speaks to me!” — B.J. Edwards

“An AMAZING teacher and woman of God! She was my first math teacher when I transferred to Winona in 2006. She made a lasting impact on my life and taught each of us the 10 commandments on her fingers!”– Alecia Jo McDaniel“Loved her! One of my favorites!” — Katie Maddox Huffman

“Great woman and knows her math! Taught me a lot.” — Joshua McLaughlin

“A great teacher and friend.” — Connie Johnson

“She was great! I loved her! (1983-84)” — Sandra Ware

“Without her, I don’t know if LeAnn would have ever gotten Algebra!” — Barbara Collins

“Love Mrs. Strickland and Hunter said she was one of his best teachers.” — Donita Haggerty

“Have a blessed 50th year! You have touched so many lives. All teachers do–one way or another. Thankfully, you have been the positive influence!” — Joyce Morrow Stephens

“(I am) sad because she’s not teaching me my senior year. She’s always been my favorite!! Love her so much!” — Ashlyn Bloom

“She never taught me in school but Mrs. Strickland and her family have been my great friends throughout the years. She is such a sweet lady.” — Jerry Lane Woods

“One of my very, very favorite teachers! She helped me love Algebra!” — Tracey Donahoo Mullins

“The best algebra teacher! And a very special lady. Happy 50th!!!” — Melissa Dowdy Allen

“Never ever had anyone who had more faith in me than she did! Love this precious lady!” — Katlynn Alexandra Geotes

“Have fun!” — Juanita Morgan

“Salt of the earth!!!” — Bozie Burrell

“❤️❤️😍😍😍😍😍” — Debbie Davis

“I had Mrs. Strickland as a teacher over 40 years ago (graduated in 1977). Congratulations!” — Denise Suber Bailey

“She was my favorite! Yes it was over 40 years ago and I have loved math and school ever since! She has become my lifelong friend to me and my family. Love this wonderful lady!!! Happy 50th!!!” — Judy Minyard

“One of favorite teachers. Love her!” — Jennifer Box Ellis

“Precious lady!” — Anna Frances Havens

“One of the best, sweetest teachers in the world. She was my teacher. I graduated in 1974 from Winona Academy.” — Nan Johnson Ware

“Best math teacher ever! Class of ’87.” — Christy Holmes Owens

“My very first teacher in Mississippi (2000). Absolutely loved the class and her contagious laugh. Still asks about my family and always smiling.” — Katie Ross McDonald

“Oh my, she impacted my life tremendously! Taught me not only math but the real values in life kids are not taught these days. Thank you Mrs Strickland for making me who I am today. Love you!!!” — Dawn Konig

“She was one of my favorite teachers!! She helped me out so much in Math and Geometry!” — Terri Weed Vaughn

“Best math teacher, period!” — Todd Yates

“Star Teacher ’90. She impacted countless students’ lives positively!” — Michael Jones

“She was one of my favorite teachers and one of the reasons I became a teacher! I hope in 50 years I’m still educating minds and hearts just as she has done and continues to do!” — Ashley Jones White

“She didn’t teach me but just wanted to say I’ve grown to know and love her through my son. I think she did teach my daughter-in-law. I love Bro. and Mrs. Strickland!” — Peggy Leflore

“A wonderful teacher and a special person! She taught me Algebra over 40 years ago!” — Janice King May

“I didn’t have her as a teacher when we attended Winona Academy, but always saw her in the hall. She is a sweetheart.” — Sandra Oswalt

“Well bless her heart.” — Lisa Mitchell Lindley

“Bless her!” — Henri Sue Kennard

“She taught me so long ago that she wasn’t even Mrs. Strickland yet! I graduated from Winona Academy in 1975. She was one of the reasons I became a teacher. Thank you Mrs. Strickland for the great example you set for me.” — Stephanie Norton

“I loved her and everything she taught. Always there for her students! Even waaaaay after my dad graduated, he’d ask her math questions!” — Robin Sproles Rose

“Best teacher and role model!!” – Jana Combes

“I didn’t have her as a teacher, but she makes a lovely family member. And when you need help with your homework!!” — Lindsy Johnson

“She didn’t teach me either bit she and Bro. Dale have definitely have made an impact on my life. Love you Ms E!!!” — Kay Grimm Morelan

“Congratulations Evelyn! Thanks for your Christian influence to the many lives you have touched!” – Nancy Kirk

“Definitely a great person and a great teacher! She taught me Algebra I and II. She is the kind of teacher who makes you want to learn! Wonderful memories! (Class of 1982)” — Mary Ann Creel

“Loved her as a teacher! Had her for 7-10th grades….I think. She was always willing to help with homework even at 9:00 at night and over the phone. She always taught more than math. Thanks for your dedication to students!!! (Class of 1982)” — Lisa Crawford Chaulklin

“Congratulations on 50 years of positively impacting so many people, not just your students. I’ll always remember your sweet smile and calm disposition. Thank you for all you do for those around you!” — Paula Jones

“Congratulations. Such a sweet lady!” — Donna Arnold Mills

“I only wished I lived closer so she could teach my kids as well. Mrs. Evelyn has always been my favorite teacher and one of my favorite people. God truly blessed our family when he brought her and her family to us. Thank you for your many years of holding our hands, making those math problems make sense and setting a good example for us to follow. We love you!” — Dani Woods Poe

“Evelyn, I am proud to say you taught all three of my children and my oldest grandchild. You are the best!! Wow!! That was a lot of years. Congratulations!!” — Shirley Blakely

“Thank God for Evelyn Strickland. My boy wouldn’t have been the same without her! Love you!” — Kara Garrett Lollar

“Beyond thankful to you Mrs. Strickland!!! Love you!” — Pamela Lenard Coker

“Show your work.” I never could get my son to show every step of his thought process like she taught. That’s why she teaches and I don’t! Bravo Mrs. Strickland!” — Jamie Kidd Niemeyer

“If there were a gold model of how to be a teacher in the true sense of the word, Mrs. Strickland would be it. In and out of the classroom, she led, taught, and nurtured us with excellence and heaps of grace. I will always be grateful for her influence in my life. My only regret is I didn’t have enough sense to learn more! Ha! Thank you, Mrs. Strickland!” — Celeste McCullar

“She didn’t teach me but she has taught my kids in Sunday school. She has a huge heart of gold. She has made a big impact on mine and my family’s life (her and Bro. Dale have). We love you and Bro. Dale whole hearted Mrs. Evelyn. Hope you have a great school year and Happy 50th year of teaching. Still going strong!” — Becky Larmi Morelan

“She was my teacher. I went to school there in 1990-1991.” – Ryan Woods

“Love this lady. I am class of ’75. She will never know the influence she had on me and my entire class.” — Salena Greenlee

“She taught me in the 70’s. Boy, time is going by so fast!” — Anita Muir

“She taught me the George method of expanding polynomials. Use it to this day when I help my girls with their algebra.” — Dean Kidd

“She never taught me BUT was a big influence in Rikki Thompson Neal and Justin Thompson‘s lives. My kids were blessed!” — Carla Thompson

“Special lady, special teacher! She was my teacher and I am a 1986 graduate.” — Rhodonna Roberts

“I wanted to have her kindness and patience! So I worked on mine I still think of her often.” — Sandra Rosamond

“Best math teacher EVER. She would bend over backwards to make sure I understood my work” – Janice Elizabeth

“This lady is one of my favorites. The greatest lesson she taught me was integrity!! I graduated in ’91.” — Melanie Bridges Wells

“Ms. Strickland always had the right thing to say to help with difficult times and situations. She was one of the many that influenced me to work hard and put God first. Thank you, Ms. Strickland! (Class of 2004)” – Kaylea Fisher Phillips


This story was featured in the August 17, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s