Members of the 2019 Daily Journal Top 40 Under 40 were recognized at a luncheon Tuesday. 

Amanda Koonlaba was named this year's Top 40 Under 40 'Person of the Year.'

She is an educational consultant and teaching artist and is the creative director and founder of Party in the Art Room in Tupelo.

While teaching for seven years in public schools, Party in the Art Room was a blog until it became a business a year and a half ago. Koonlaba designs and implements unique, high-quality, research-based art lessons for children and adults. She also consults with schools and national organization for teachers on best practices for and implementation of art instruction and arts integration.

She has won numerous awards as an educator, including Mississippi Elementary Arts Educator of the Year, AEE Innovation in the Classroom Award, ACSD Emerging Leader, Lawhon Elementary School Teacher of the Year and CREATE Teacher of Distinction. She has been a presenter at the National Arts Education Associations National Conference six times and was recently named one of the two first-ever Arts Integration Leaders by the internationally accredited Online Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM.

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