Dacie Brantley
Dacie Brantley
For kindergarten teacher Dacie Brantley, teaching is a profession which fell into her lap.

A 2004 graduate of Neshoba Central, Dacie originally attended Mississippi State University to get a nursing degree.

"But I didn't pass the test," she said. "I thought that God had shut that door for a reason. Now I love what I do."

She later graduated from MSU in 2011 with a degree in elementary education.

She immediately decided she wanted to teach at Neshoba Central.

"I've always wanted to teach at Neshoba Central," she said. "I love kindergarten and I'll stay here if they'll let me."

Dacie started last year as the assistant teacher for Lindsay Garner's first grade class. Now she is the teacher of the Turtle Kindergarten class.

Her students just finished their Wild West themed lessons.

"We dressed up," she said, "and on Friday we ate hobo beans, baked beans eaten straight from cans the children brought from home."

The students even learned about lassos, boots, spurs and what the West was like.

This is the first of Christmas week.

"We'll be going over the Christmas story and reading The Polar Express," she said. "They'll also be learning how to tell time and make ornaments."

The use of themes is something unique to the kindergarten classes. The students get to dress up and even the teachers get involved.

"In a few weeks we'll have pajama day and I'll come dressed in my pajamas," Dacie said.

Outside of work, Dacie enjoys reading and taking trips with friend Hailey Flake.

She also enjoys cooking.

"I cook every night for my family," she said. "It's stress relief for a bad day."

Dacie said most of the time she cooks with a member of the family, normally whoever is there.

"Sometimes it's just Kensington [her niece] who sits on the floor and bangs on pots and pans," she said.

Dacie says her favorite recipe is her great-grandmother's chicken spaghetti.

It's my great-grandmother's [Mary Thrash] recipe and my mom taught it to me," she said.

Dacie has shared some of her favorite recipes.

Grandmother's Chicken Spaghetti

12 ounce package spaghetti

1 hen or 2 large fryers

1 pounds Velveeta cheese

1 large onion

1 1/2 cups Ro-Tel tomatoes

1 large bell pepper

1 stick of margarine

Salt and pepper chicken and boil until tender. Save broth, debone and chop chicken. Cook spaghetti in the broth; grate cheese and pour over hot spaghetti. Sauté' onions, pepper in margarine and add to spaghetti. Add Ro-Tel and chicken. Salt and pepper if needed. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 15 to 20 people.

Pecan Rolls

2 cups chopped pecans

1 box vanilla wafers

1 cup sweetened condense milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Chop pecans if whole into small or fine pieces. Crush vanilla wafer finely. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla to can of sweetened condense milk and stir until mixed completely. Pour pecans, vanilla wafers, and sweetened condense milk in large mixing bowl and mix with hands until all ingredients are together. Make into log and wrap in wax paper or aluminum foil and store in freezer for 1 hour or until firm.

Mexican Fiesta Dip

2 cans Mexican Festival dices tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro

2 cans original diced tomatoes with green chilies

2 cans tomato paste jalapeno peppers

Pour everything into blender and mix. Serve with chips or crackers.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

1 large can of cream of chicken

1 large can of cream of mushrooms

1 large can of chicken and rice

1 pound of Velveeta cheese


1 hen or 2 large fryers

Salt and pepper chicken and boil until tender. Save broth, debone and chop chicken. Pour rice to the amount you need in a baking dish of your choice. Add cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and chick and rice to baking dish. Add in chicken and broth. Stir until mixed. Cut cheese into small blocks and add as well. Bake at 350 degrees until rice is tender.

Potato Soup

6 large potatoes

1 small onion, diced

2-inch block Velveeta cheese, cubed

2 tablespoons flour

1 small carton sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 stick margarine

Boil potatoes and onion until tender, keeping the liquid. Melt margarine. Add flour to melted margarine. Add flour/ margarine mixture to potatoes. Stir until desired thickness. Add cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with cornbread.

Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onions

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup diced celery

4 tablespoons of butter, divided

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups diced peeled potatoes

1/4 cup of all- purpose flour

2 cups Velveeta, cubed

1 1/2 cups of milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup of sour cream

In a 3 quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, sauté the onion, carrots and celery in 1 tablespoon of butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10- 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3- 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Serves 8 - 10 people.