St. John Schools recognizes District Principals, Teachers of the Year
Published 12:12 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016
RESERVE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District named Chantell Walker and Jason Beber as its District Principals of the Year and Karen Dottolo, Lyndell Jackson and James Oubre as its District Teachers of the Year.
“In every school, we have many doing great work,” Superintendent Kevin George said. “These five individuals exemplify that by going beyond what is asked. Mr. Beber and Mrs. Walker have led their schools to extraordinary growth, while Mr. Oubre, Mrs. Dottolo and Mrs. Jackson have pushed their students and their colleagues to reach higher and experience success at tremendous rates. Their success is our success as we build a first-class school system.”
Elementary School Principal of the Year
Walker, of West St. John Elementary School, is the Elementary School Principal of the Year. This is her second year leading the school.
She began her teaching career in 1995 and has taught math in St. James Parish and at The American Academy for Girls in Salwa, Kuwait.
She joined the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District in 2008 as a high school and dual enrollment math teacher at West St. John High School, where she also served as the math department chairwoman and school counselor.
She was named the District Teacher of the Year in 2010 before serving as the school’s assistant principal from 2011-14.
Under her leadership, West St. John Elementary School increased its School Performance Score 16.6 points in 2015.
Walker said, as a leader, she believes everyone must work together to ensure all students are successful.
“It is only by working together that we will achieve any level of success,” she said. “One of my favorite quotes is from Helen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.’ The motto of West St. John Elementary is ‘Together We Can.’ This motto is repeated throughout our school and to our parents every opportunity we have. We don’t just say it. We believe it and we live it. Therein lies the success at West St. John Elementary School. Everyone works together for the common goal of giving our students the education they deserve without accepting any excuses and meeting any and all challenges that may come our way.”
Middle School Principal of the Year
Beber, of Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School, is the Middle School Principal of the Year. It is his second year leading the school.
A graduate of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District, Beber began his career with the district as a teacher at LaPlace Elementary School. He served as an assistant principal at East St. John High School for three years before becoming principal at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary.
Under his leadership, Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School increased its School Performance Score 15 points in 2015.
“As a product of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School System, I believe in the futures of my students and I make the choice to put them first every day,” he said. “Being a principal is all about relationships: With my students, administrative team, teachers, parents and members of the community.”
Beber said when all school personnel come together to put teaching and learning as the center of what is done, great things can happen.
“I lead an awesome team at LPE,” he said. “They have bought into my vision and goals. I’m proud to be a Pelican.”
Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Dottolo, of John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School, is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She has spent her entire career as an elementary school teacher, working at Reserve Rosenwald, Fifth Ward Elementary, LaPlace Elementary and John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School.
She began at John L. Ory when the school opened and 21 years later remains as a fourth-grade teacher.
“My time in teaching has been a labor of love,” Dottolo said. “I did not know 31 years ago what I was setting out to do; however, it has completed my life in ways in which I am forever grateful.”
More than anything, Dottolo said she is proud of the many students’ lives she has touched through education and that she has led a life that makes her husband and three daughters proud.
“To love what you do and know that matters, who could ask for anything more?” she said.
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Jackson, of LaPlace Elementary School, is the Middle School Teacher of the Year. This is her fifth year teaching at the school.
The math and science teacher has been teaching for 15 years. Prior to joining LaPlace Elementary School, she taught at Fifth Ward Elementary School and West St. John High School.
In addition to teaching, she serves as a teacher leader, a Beta Club sponsor and a tutor.
“Being chosen as Middle School Teacher of the Year is a great honor,” she said.
High School Teacher of the Year
Oubre, of East St. John High School, is the High School Teacher of the Year. This is his ninth year teaching at the school.
He teaches biology I and biology I honors classes and has previously taught Earth, environmental and physical science.
Professionally, Oubre said he is proud of his ability to communicate complex ideas and concepts to his students and provide them with an effectively managed positive-learning environment.
“Personally, I am most proud of my wife Jennifer and our two children Jayden and Jackson,” he said. “I humbly accept this honor, as I am just one of many great teachers at ESJHS.”