Profile: Penny Wallin
A love of children, animals and the arts has been a driving force throughout Penny Wallin's life.
An assistant professor of educational leadership at MSU's Meridian Campus Division of Education, she received a master of arts in theatre and a doctorate of education in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as a master of education in learning environments from Harvard University.
An educator since age 19, she has taught students from pre-K to high school, and has served as a principal, curriculum director and district superintendent. But she credits her 93-year-old mother, who was the first woman to get her doctorate in education at MSU in 1970, with instilling her belief that education opens the world. Her time at Harvard also helped give her a different teaching perspective.
"During my tenure as a research assistant and student, I learned to ask, 'How are you smart?' rather than 'Are you smart?'" she said.
This philosophy can been seen in Wallin's work sharing "best practices for all learners" with teachers and leaders-in-training at MSU. As a teaching artist, Wallin uses her training in theatre as a springboard to many subjects in her work with literacy through arts. As a certified Conscious Discipline Instructor, she teaches brain-compatible strategies for children and adults.
She is a strong supporter of art-integration in the public schools and has served in an elected post on the National Leadership Committee for the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network. She co-organized the Arts are Core Gallery in the MSU Meridian Division of Education, where works by clients of the T.K. Martin Center, local K-12 students and an MSU alumnus are on display.
She also is executive director of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education and works with the Mississippi Department of Education in teacher mentoring, arts in education and literacy.
As the parent of seven children and "Mama Penny" to six grandchildren, Wallin has family in California, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Indiana and Washington, D.C. She said all are animal advocates, fostering injured and lost wildlife, as well as dogs and cats.
"One source of family pride is that we have been able to place more than 65 rescue animals in appropriate settings," she said. "I believe in noticing and nurturing everyone with whom I come in contact."Writer: Margaret Kovar | Photo: Russ Houston
Next week … Lokesh Shivakumaraiah !