Three locals named ‘Teacher of the Year’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – St. John the Baptist Parish School Board named the three winners of the &#8220Teacher of the Year” award at a recent meeting.

Among the winners were Taschica Hansley of Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet Elementary, Maria Zeledon of John L. Ory Magnet and Jeanne Leroy of West St. John High School.

In the elementary division, Lutcher native Taschica Hansley of Gary-ville-Mt. Airy Magnet Elemen-tary was both excited and shocked to receive the award. She said that it could have been any of her colleagues because they have all been working hard to provide a productive learning environment for their children.

&#8220It was exciting. I live and breathe educationŠit [the award] keeps you going, keeps you motivated,” said Hansley. &#8220I treat my students as my children.”

Hansley has 12 years of experience, teaches fourth grade and specializes in Math and Science. She is also the school’s Beta Club sponsor and was twice nominated for the &#8220Who’s Who Among American Teachers” award. And in the 2005-2006 school year she was nominated for the &#8220Service of Excellence” award.

Maria Zeledon, who was born in Brazil and earned her degree from the University of New Orleans, earned the &#8220Teacher of the Year” award in the middle school division. She currently teaches at John L. Ory Magnet and specializes in Social Studies, World, American and Louisiana History as well as Computer Lab classes.

Zeledon said that her jaw dropped with astonishment when she heard her name called for the award.

&#8220I was very honored, tickled pink,” said Zeledon. &#8220I expect the best of my children and myself. I’ve always loved school and I love learning. I treat all of my students with dignity and respect.”

She said that on her first day as a teacher, she realized that she was meant to be an educator. Zeledon is in her ninth year of teaching and feels just as passionate today as she did when she began.

St. John Parish School Board Superintendent Michael Coburn commended Zeledon saying, &#8220Her students consistently score well on the LEAP test.”

Zeledon said that the biggest reward of teaching is seeing that light of understanding go off in her students’ eyes.

&#8220When they’re excited, I’m excited,” she said. &#8220I live for those momentsŠ when they get it.”

Jeanne Leroy, a University of New Orleans alumnus, earned her Masters in Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology and took home this year’s honors of &#8220High School Teacher of the Year.”

&#8220I was surprised and excited,” said Leroy. &#8220It [the award] wasn’t for me. It was for my students.”

She currently teaches Sports Medicine, First Responder and Physiology at West St. John High School and is a third-year Athletic Trainer for both West and East St. John High Schools.

Leroy appreciates the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board’s recognition of the programs she has brought in.

She started a student-training program at both West and East St. John High Schools that allows students to get the experience they need to perhaps earn college scholarships or become Pharmacy Technicians fresh out of high school.

&#8220This is one of the greatest honors that I’ve received,” said Leroy. &#8220I really appreciate the school system recognizing what I’m doing for the kids.”

Former West St. John High School Principal Elton Oubre nominated Leroy for the &#8220Teacher of the Year” award and was thrilled to hear about her achievement.

&#8220Ms. Leroy’s very passionate about her profession and a true motivator,” said Oubre. &#8220She’s a true professional at heart and is constantly trying to fortify her teaching experience so her students can benefit.”

Leroy is also involved with the National Football League and has been asked to travel with different Collegiate Universities from around the country.

Superintendent Coburn said that all of the teachers nominated for the &#8220Teacher of the Year” award are dynamite teachers and great assets to St. John the Baptist Parish.