• 70°

Peri Eldridge named principal of Emily C. Watkins Elementary Eldridge previously served as interim principal & assistant principal

LAPLACE — Peri Eldridge has been named principal of Emily C. Watkins Elementary School in LaPlace.

Eldridge had been serving as interim principal. She previously had served as assistant principal at the school for the 12 years since it opened in 2009.

But the LaPlace resident and East St. John High School graduate’s connection to the school goes back even further. Her principal at Woodlawn Elementary School in the fifth and sixth grade was Mrs. Emily C. Watkins herself.

“I feel honored to be here and to carry on her legacy, especially as someone who knew her personally,” Eldridge said.

Eldridge said her main goal as principal is to continue the positive culture and climate that has been established at the school, as well as to gradually raise test scores.

“Every year we’ve made progress and I want to continue that by supporting our students, parents and staff,” she said.

Eldridge took over as interim principal shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began and has led the school throughout the past challenging year.

“We have one of the best faculties and staffs,” she said. “When COVID hit our teachers wasted no time pulling together to put a plan in place. Our faculty united and shared everything they knew with each other.”

One positive effect of       through the pandemic, she said, is that it has caused her to reach out to parents more frequently, and she plans to continue that practice as she continues her leadership role at the school.

Eldridge received her bachelor’s in secondary education and her special education mild/moderate certification K-12 from Southeastern Louisiana University, as well as a master’s in educational leadership/administration from Nicholls State University. She has spent her entire career serving students in St. John the Baptist Parish, teaching at Leon Godchaux Jr. High School, East St. John High School and East St. John Elementary School. She has also served as a special education behavior interventionist, as well as a staff development coordinator and acting assistant principal at East St. John High School.