DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES 2015 TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR

Jul 12, 2014

Elementary, Middle, and High School Educators Honored at 8th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium

BATON ROUGE, La. – As Louisiana transitions to higher expectations and more challenging assessments, the Department of Education celebrated the work of some of the educators leading the effort in our schools and classrooms. The Department tonight announced the overall 2015 Teacher and Principal of the Year at the 8th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium. The annual symposium is a day of professional development and recognition for Teacher and Principal of the year semi-finalists and finalists.

The 2015 Teacher of the Year is Carla Jackson, a third grade teacher at Bains Elementary School in West Feliciana Parish. Ms. Jackson has taught at Bains Elementary School since 2003, bringing more than two decades of experience to the classroom. Ms. Jackson considers herself a data-driven teacher and this past school year surpassed a goal she set for herself with 90 percent of her students performing at grade-level or better in English Language Arts. As the 2015 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Jackson drove away with a one-year lease on a new Mercedes, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge.

The 2015 Principal of the Year is Denise Rehm, principal at Joshua Butler Elementary School in Jefferson Parish. Ms. Rehm has served as principal at Joshua Butler Elementary School for the past six years and started her career in education as a first grade teacher 17 years ago. Under Ms. Rehm, Joshua Butler has transitioned into Common Core, pushing academic rigor and high standards, and monitoring their students’ data as they went. It was because of this data monitoring and school culture, Joshua Butler was able to grow from a “D” school in 2012 to a “B” school in 2013 and being named a Top Gains School – an incredible accomplishment.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to say thanks to our educators for their service and celebrate their accomplishments,” said State Superintendent John White. “Our educators are making exceptional gains with students, pushing them to achieve new, higher expectations. They are relentless in their efforts to improve their instructional practices so students can achieve such success.”

Additionally, recognized during the evening were the 2015 Elementary, Middle, and High School Teacher and Principal of the Year winners. The 2015 Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Ms. Tammy Schales, Ruston Elementary School, Lincoln Parish; the 2015 Middle School Teacher of the Year is Mr. Justin Burkhardt, Andrew Jackson Middle School, St. Bernard Parish; and, the 2015 High School Teacher of the Year is Ms. Anita Szombathelyi, Airline High School, Bossier Parish.

The 2015 Elementary School Principal of the Year is Ms. Marjorie Meyers, Pecan Grove Elementary School, Ascension Parish; the 2015 Middle School Principal of the Year is Mr. Patrick Mackin, Slidell Junior High School, St. Tammany Parish; and, the 2015 High School Principal of the Year Mr. Ken Oertling, Hahnville High School, St. Charles Parish.

“Louisiana’s teachers and principals work very hard to help our students develop the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their goals and succeed in life,” said Holly Boffy, secretary-treasurer of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and 2010 Louisiana Teacher of the Year. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank our state’s educators for their dedication and leadership, and congratulate this year’s finalists on a job well done.”

Prior to the awards ceremony, educators from across the state attended a luncheon hosted by Dream Teachers featuring New York Times bestselling author and founder of the Ron Clark Academies, Ron Clark. Clark was also named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year in 2000. Following the luncheon, educators participated in professional development workshops led by Louisiana Teacher Leaders and Department staff focused on the state’s transition to new academic expectations and more challenging assessments.

Dream Teachers, a non-profit organization founded in 2006 for the purpose of recognizing Louisiana’s finest educators and education leaders and to encourage educational excellence, served as presenting sponsor of the 8th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium.

Other sponsors for the event included the Albermarle Foundation, the Boo Grigsby Foundation, Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge, Entergy, ExxonMobil, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge, and the E.J. and Marjory B. Ourso Family Foundation.
 

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