LAUREL, Miss. (WHLT) – One Jones County educator is shattering the glass ceiling for women of color.

Dr. Toy Watts is the first Black woman to become superintendent of the Laurel School District.

“It was not my intention to be here when I started in education,” said Watts. “I was just going to be a teacher, but God saw differently.”

Not her chosen path initially, but that all changed when a Sunday school teacher convinced her to go into education.

“My goal is to continue to fill the district with highly qualified, dedicated people. As a matter of fact, I would choose heart over skill any day because I can teach you the skill,” she said.

She met Ivory Shelby, who became a confidante and community partner, who ultimately nominated her for the WJTV 12 News Remarkable Woman contest.

“We wanted to do something to show her that she had community support,” said Shelby.

It’s been five years since Dr. Watts has taken on the position.

“When I think about being my best self, the first thing that comes to my mind is about being a better mother and wife,” she said.

With a six-year-old, nine-year-old and 12-year-old at home, she’s got her hands full. Once deemed a “workaholic” by her oldest daughter, she said she’s happy to achieve that work-life balance now.

“There is no ceiling. What you think you’re going to be right now as you sit in these classrooms, you literally have no idea how life can present you with opportunities. You have to be ready to take them in. You have to believe in yourself to take them,” said Dr. Watts.