St. John Schools honor Teachers of the Year

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board recognized the district’s top teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels during a meeting.

The top three winners included Elementary Teacher of the Year Shontrece Lathers of Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, Middle School Teacher of the Year Shanna Beber of LaPlace Elementary and High School Teacher of the Year Janice Lubin of West St. John High.

They were selected from a group a nominees from every school in the district. The other St. John the Baptist Parish teachers nominated for the district’s top awards included:

Elementary Teacher of the Year nominees – Alexis Perez, East St. John Elementary; Casey Burnham, Emily C. Watkins Elementary; Drenean Brown, Fifth Ward Elementary; Holly Mire, Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet; Kimberly Poullard, John L. Ory Magnet; Kelly Arnett, LaPlace Elementary; and Debra Washington, West St. John Elementary.

Middle School Teacher of the Year nominees – Johnika Gaines, East St. John Elementary; Heather Reese, Emily C. Watkins Elementary; Michelle Seymour, Fifth Ward Elementary; Antoinette Walker, Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet; Tamara Holland, John L. Ory Magnet; Kelley Thompson, Lake Pontchartrain Elementary; Gail Brazile, West St. John Elementary; and Brittany Gauthier, West St. John High.

High School Teacher of the Year nominee – William Boles, East St. John High.

Superintendent Courtney P. Millet, Ph.D., said a panel of local community leaders selected the parish’s top winners. Those judges included LA Federal Credit Union business development coordinator and St. John Chamber of Commerce member Kim Bourgeois, retired director of curriculum Josie Clement and director of human resources Leigh Ann Beard.

Elementary School Teacher of the Year Shontrece Lathers started her teaching career in St. John Parish at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary in 2006. She has taught first and third grade.

Lathers graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education first–fifth grade, and in 2011, she received a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University. In February 2006, November 2006 and September 2007 she was Lake Pontchartrain Elementary’s Teacher of the Month and in 2010 she was a teacher of the year nominee through the L’Observateur Newspaper’s Teacher Appreciation Program.

In a letter of recommendation, Principal Margaret Hastings stated, “Ms. Lathers is an incredible and successful third grade teacher. She is dedicated to the welfare and academic success of her students. She is a highly requested teacher on my staff, due to her excellent reputation for academic excellence and structured environment. Ms. Lathers demonstrates hard work ethics and professional integrity. She is an asset to our school and the educational profession. Her passion and dedication for raising the bar and closing the achievement gap truly make her an outstanding Teacher of the Year.”

Middle School Teacher of the Year Shanna Beber has taught first grade, third grade and sixth grade math and science at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary and LaPlace Elementary.

Beber received a Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education Pre-K through eighth grade at Nicholls State University in 2002, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Walden University in 2008 and she is currently working on a Doctorate of Education in Teacher Leadership.

A few of Beber’s recognitions include St. John the Baptist Parish Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2006, Rotary Club Teacher of the Quarter in 2006, Model/Master Classroom in Mathematics from 2005-2008, Model/Master Classroom in Reading from 2003-2008 and New Orleans Saints Teacher of the Week for December 2006.

Her principal, Alison Cupit, said, “Teaching comes from the heart and so does love and kindness. Ms. Beber is constantly working with her students, who respect her without reserve. Ms. Beber’s class shows respect, discipline, intelligence and admiration for each other, for their teacher, and for anyone who enters her classroom. She is a wonderful role model for all who come in contact with her. She takes time to listen, help and oftentimes goes overboard for her students. Her class is always busy and of course, as a result, she produces excellence in education.”

High School Teacher of the Year Janice Lubin received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in 1985 and a Master of Business Administration in 1988 both from Clark Atlanta University. She received her teaching certificate in Business Education from Nicholls State University in 2011.

Lubin began her teaching career in 2008 in St. John the Baptist Parish. She is presently teaching Business Education to grades ninth through 12 at West St. John High. She was the Teacher of the Month for West St. John High in 2011 and she takes an active leadership role within the school. For example, Lubin is a part of the Motion Leadership Team, she is a participant in WSJH’s professional learning community and she is the career-tech department chairperson. In addition, she has conducted professional development training in the area of technology.

West St. John High Principal Erica Merrick said, “Ms. Lubin’s distinguishing characteristic is her relentless dedication to her students. As the principal, I often receive phone calls and emails from Ms. Lubin asking for my input on classroom ideas and projects. She also deeply believes that community must be a part of her classroom, as she invites guest speakers and parents to her class regularly.”

“Also, Ms. Lubin serves as an advisor to eight 12th-grade young ladies. She does not take this role as an advisor lightly,” Merrick said. “Ms. Lubin researches scholarships and coaches them in their personal statements. Ms. Lubin’s goal for her advisory group is to have 100 percent of them accepted into a college or vocational school.”

Each of the three winners will advance to the state’s regional competition where they will compete against other local teachers for the opportunity to be a state finalist for Louisiana Teacher of the Year.