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New SCC principal shares vision for school: Dr. Millet confident students graduate with spirit for service

LAPLACE — Dr. Courtney P. Millet will assume the role of principal of St. Charles Catholic High School July 1.

Longtime principal Andrew Cupit is retiring.

L’OBSERVATEUR recently sat down with Millet, who shared her perspective on the strengths and future of Catholic education in the River Parishes, adding her faith is the lens that guides her thinking and practice.

What is your experience in education?

My experience in education spans from classroom teaching to district superintendent. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve students in Catholic, public and charter schools in Louisiana.

I taught most of my years at LaPlace Elementary School, where Drew Cupit was my first principal for one year.

I later became principal, like him, at LaPlace Elementary, and now I will become principal, like him, at St. Charles.

I look forward to returning to St. Charles Catholic as its Principal and Spiritual Leader with a great sense of enthusiasm, commitment, faith, and purpose.

Courtney P. Millet’s roots run deep with the school. She is seen with her high school sweetheart and now husband Leandre Millet, who also attended SCC.

Who have been your education role models?

I believe all the teachers and administrators I’ve worked with have prepared me to be a principal. I was blessed to learn from the best.

My mom, Olga Haik Porteous, and I both taught second grade next door to each other at LaPlace Elementary. The wisdom, the how to treat people, that all came from her.

I truly believe my work ethic came from my grandmother. She worked day-in and day-out in her store on the River Road.

What should SCC offer families in a parish that includes STEM and charter school options?

St. Charles Catholic High School has always and will continue to excel in the STEM fields as evidenced by the graduates’ successes in college and beyond.

SCC is an all-inclusive school, and our graduates go out into the world with a spirit of service and share the gifts they have received. Students from all faiths attend St. Charles Catholic High School.

The school not only provides a superior educational experience, but the teachers do so by integrating faith into every subject. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, the teachers and coaches at SCC encourage and push students to strive for excellence in all that they do while emphasizing Christian values.

All students have the opportunity to excel academically, spiritually, athletically and artistically.  Having all four in one safe and secure academic setting is something very special.

Newly appointed principal, Courtney Millet, third from left, and her husband Leandre Millet, far right, pose with fellow SCC graduates Todd Keating and Lori Guidry Keating at their senior SCC prom in 1984. The two couples remain friends to this day. Lori and Todd Keating have two children who are graduates of SCC, and one junior currently attending SCC. Jared Keating, Lori and Todd’s oldest child, graduated from SCC in 2011 and went on to receive his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering while Meredith Keating graduated from SCC in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the Master’s Degree program in Mass Communications from LSU. Both of Millet’s son’s graduated from SCC as well. Michael Millet graduated from SCC in 2012 and currently attends LSU Medical School in Shreveport and Jeffrey Millet graduated from SCC in 2015 and will be graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from LSU in the Spring.

What is the role and value of a Catholic education, and has that changed over time?

The role of a Catholic education is to encourage faith, values, and prayer which are not allowed in the public schools. The value of a Catholic education is just as relevant today, maybe even more, than in years past.

In today’s society, it is even more important to form the whole child – to educate the heart, the mind and the body.

Our goal is to prepare children for success in this world, evidenced by higher ACT scores, higher high school and college graduation rates, and beyond by forming their hearts in the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ.

Strong academic results open the door to success at the college level. Therefore, Catholic high schools are worth the investment to prepare our high school students for college and careers.

There is a direct positive future benefit to the tuition investment made by parents during the high school years.

What can SCC do to establish itself as “the” Catholic high school for River Region families?

The decision on where to place your child for high school is a very personal and important one. SCC is an excellent option for students to develop spiritually, academically, physically, and emotionally in a respectful coed environment which promotes real-world collaboration.

Having all four in one safe and secure academic setting is something very special.

By establishing an atmosphere where Christian values are practiced, taught, and developed, SCC works to model a Christian community for our students so that it can be continued throughout life.  Our teachers model Christian ethics, values and best educational practices.  This takes focus, consistency, and commitment from the administration, teachers, coaches, staff, students, and the St. Charles Catholic Community at large.

How will SCC stay ahead of the curve in education?

We’re looking to continue improvements in technology and in scheduling electives to get students college and career ready.

Our world is changing so fast with technology. It’s important for us to be sure we’re on the forefront in preparing our students for the future.

We have a one-on-one iPad program for our students.

They use them for research, writing, note taking, homework and lab reports.

A lot of our dual enrollment takes place in one of our Mac labs, and we offer code design, media classes and digital design in our other Mac lab. In our physics classroom and biology classroom, we have interactive Promethean walls.

What traditions do you hope to carry forward?

There are so many traditions that have taken place in the last 30 years, especially in regards to our Catholic faith and service.

I plan to continue those things at St. Charles Catholic High School with regards to school-wide masses and our living rosary.

One of the other traditions is that every class, every lunch, every meeting and athletic event at school begins with a prayer.

How do you plan to increase parental and community involvement?

We’re looking at doing some social media workshops and opening it up for our parents to come out in the evenings.

I’m going to host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. March 20 at St. Charles Catholic High School for parents in our community who want to explore other educational opportunities.

Through a committed faculty and staff, we offer a spiritual life and an academically focused atmosphere for our students to excel. Our standard of excellence in education combined with an atmosphere where Christian values are practiced, taught, and developed help make SCC the academic and spiritual leader for the River Parishes.