clayton and nelson

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. -- Mills University Studies High principal Duane Clayton and Daisy Bates Elementary teacher LaRisha Nelson have been named Oscar Washington, Jr. Educational Fund Alma J. Washington Educators of the Year.

“I look at my role as a service, an opportunity, a calling,” said Mr. Clayton. “I live by…’What we have done to the least of these.’ Also, I do not work unto man, but unto the Lord wholeheartedly. This is just a way that I think God uses people to help others." 

Nelson was nominated by a fellow teacher, Nina Reynolds, who she said challenged her to always work hard and give her best when it came to teaching.

"I am beyond humbled and overjoyed about receiving the Alma J. Washington Teacher of the Year Award this year,” said Mrs. Nelson. “It truly demonstrates the influence and impact educators make in their students' lives. My nomination came from my 6th grade teacher who has remained in contact with me after all of these years. She also taught alongside Mrs. Alma Washington, which makes this award that much more special to me!" 

Clayton and Nelson will be recognized at the fifth annual Oscar Washington, Jr. Education Fund scholarship banquet on April 30.

The Oscar Washington Jr. Educational Fund was created to honor the life and legacy of Oscar Washington Jr. Washington valued education and his foundation has awarded four Arkansas educators since the creation of the Alma J. Washington Educator of the Year Award in 2020. In 2021,  Erika Evans from William Jefferson Clinton Elementary was a recipient of the award.