Andrew Lark named SFPE’s 2015 Innovative Educator

In 2010 the Starkville Foundation For Public Education created the Outstanding Educator Award in honor of Dr. Paul Cuicchi, who taught at Starkville High School for 33 years. Nominations are accepted each year from current and former students, parents of students, fellow teachers and administrators within the Starkville School District. This honor from the Starkville Foundation for Public Education includes a cash award of $500.

2015 Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Andrew Lark

2015 Paul Cuicchi Innovative Educator Andrew Lark

Our 2015 recipient, Andrew Lark, is an educator who not only teaches his craft extremely well – he motivates his students to achieve at the very highest level. Mr. Lark serves as Chair of the Art department at Starkville High School, where he has taught art for 18 years.

A native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mr. Lark received his BA in Fine Arts from Mississippi Valley State University. In addition to teaching at Starkville High School, Mr. Lark mentors practicum students at Mississippi State University and Mississippi University for Women. He has served on the Mississippi Teacher of the Year Advisory Committee, State of Mississippi Superintendent Advisory Committee, Mississippi School Improvement Steering Committee, and the Starkville Area Arts Council.

Mr. Lark’s list of honors and awards is long and includes:

Governor’s Award in Art Education – 2000
Mississippi Teacher of the year – 2003
Greater Starkville Development Partnership Education Hall of Fame – 2005
STAR Teacher – 2014

From Mr. Lark’s nomination form: “It’s hard to describe just how valuable Andrew Lark is to our school district, our students and to our community. He is passionate, energetic and relentless in his pursuit to help his students achieve their very best in the classroom and beyond…his students have received more than three million dollars in college scholarships allowing them to follow their dreams. The honors they have received are too numerous to count. Under his guidance, Starkville High School continues to lead the way in Scholastic art recipients, YoungArts recipients, Congressional Art Award winners and much more. Over the years he has built the art program at Starkville High School into one of the top in the entire country. In fact the, Starkville High School Art department received a Kennedy Center Creative Ticket Award for hits distinction nationally in fine arts education. All of this would not be possible without Andrew Lark’s leadership and vision for his school and his students.”

From a student: “Mr. Lark grew up in the Mississippi Delta where nothing came easy. His example of toughness and perseverance has inspired me to use my gifts, opportunities and even challenges to achieve all I can…Mr. Lark doesn’t just teach art, he teaches life lessons. He encourages me to stand up for what I believe even when my ideas may not be popular.”

Andrew Lark and his wife Jeanine, also a teacher in the Starkville School District, have three children, LaTonya, Andrew, and Jada.

Mr. Lark with 2014 STAR Student Emily Turner

Mr. Lark with his 2014 SHS STAR Student Emily Turner