Teacher / Administrator of the year: Petal School District


Marcus Boyles
Administrator of Year


Sarah McClure
Teacher of Year

During the Petal School District’s annual convocation ceremony on Jan. 7, officials from the district named Sarah McClure as Teacher of the Year and Marcus Boyles as Administrator of the Year.

McClure, a first-grade teacher at Petal Primary School, earned her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University in 2005 before moving to Hattiesburg to begin her teaching career. She received her National Boards Certification in 2012 before earning her Masters of Education degree in 2015 from William Carey University.

McClure is now in her 14th year of teaching. 

“I was extremely surprised (about the award) because I am surrounded by incredibly hard-working, dedicated, and deserving teachers,” McClure said. “I feel very honored to have received the recognition.

“Being a teacher takes a lot of hard work, patience and love, but working with students and helping them discover their potential is so rewarding. Just knowing that others can see the dedication you have for your students is encouraging.”

McClure said her favorite thing about teaching is empowering her students to believe in themselves and to help them discover what they’re capable of.

“I love pushing them to be problem solvers and seeing how proud they are when they accomplish something challenging,” she said. “My goal is to help instill a growth mindset in my students so that they will always desire to be lifelong learners.”

Boyles, who currently serves as athletic director and head football coach, has been teaching for 30 years. He graduated from Raleigh High School before attending Jones College – now known as Jones County Junior College – and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and biology.

After graduating from Southern Miss, Boyles received his masters in administration from William Carey University.

He began his coaching career in 1989 in Florence as an assistant football and head baseball coach before serving as assistant coach for both sports at Louisville High School. Two years, later, he was hired as athletic director and head football coach at Taylorsville, where he led the Tartars to three 2A titles.

From there, Boyles moved to Pearl where he won two regional titles and competed for the South State championship. He then coached at Wayne County and led the War Eagles to three 5A championships and two South State titles.

During his time at Petal, the Panthers have been to the playoffs several times, played in the South State championship game three times and played for a state championship in 2015.

“My favorite thing about teaching is the relationships you build with the kids and watching these student-athletes grow and mature into young men and women,” Boyles said. “I was very surprised (to receive the award) and I am sincerely honored to be recognized in such a great district as Administrator of the Year.”