Hahnville’s Oertling named Louisiana Principal of the Year

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

By Monique Roth

HAHNVILLE — Hahnville High School Principal Ken Oertling was named the 2015 Louisiana High School Principal of the Year Saturday by the State Department of Education.

One of ten principals selected as a finalist for demonstrating an ability to implement rigorous instructional practices and positively impacting student growth, Oertling said he was honored to bring the award back to St. Charles Parish School District.

“It was a unique and very rewarding experience,” Oertling said. “It’s a reflection of everything we do as a community for the students of the parish.”

Nominated by his peers for the honor, Oertling submitted a packet of accomplishments and other information before sitting before a panel of state officials, teachers, principals and elected representatives for an interview.

All finalists were honored and winners were announced at the 8th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration Saturday in Baton Rouge. Dream Teachers, a nonprofit organization, hosted the event to celebrate Louisiana’s finest educators and educational leaders.

Oertling said his wife Kelli, daughters Macy and Avery, other family members, Superintendent Felicia Gomez-Walker and other district personnel were all at the ceremony Saturday night when the announcement was made.

“My kids screamed,” Oertling said with a laugh. “Dream Teachers is a phenomenal organization that truly makes you feel rewarded for the profession you’re in.”

Qualifications for the award dictate a person must be a principal for three years before they can be nominated. The 2013-2014 school year was the fourth he served as principal, meaning it was the first year he even qualified to be nominated.

“We are proud to call Mr. Oertling one of our own,” said Gomez-Walker. “He embodies the characteristics of a true leader and represents what St. Charles Parish Public Schools is all about.”

She said Oertling has a laser focus on continuous improvement, which is evident through the quality of teaching and learning at Hahnville High School. 

“He is truly deserving of this honor,” she said.

Oertling received his bachelor of science in science education and his master of education in administration and supervision from Southeastern Louisiana University after serving six years in the United States Navy, where he earned the distinction of United States Navy Sailor of the Year in 1996.

In 2000, he was hired as a physical science and biology teacher at Hahnville High. During five years of teaching there, he also coached football, basketball and track.

He was promoted to assistant principal in 2006 and in that role served as the safe schools coordinator, athletic director, at-risk programs coordinator, high-stakes testing coordinator and administrator of scheduling. In 2010, he was named principal.

He is a member of the American Association of School Administrators, Knights of Columbus, Louisiana Association of Principals, Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, Louisiana High School Athletic Association, National Association of Black Secondary Educators and Veterans of Foreign Affairs.