|DISTRICT NEWS, Ascension Public Schools Rank 4th in State for ACT - 2015.07.17Baton Rouge, La. – Latest ACT scores solidify Ascension Public Schools’ position as one of the strongest school districts in Louisiana for college preparation. The 2014-15 ACT data released by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) on Thursday showed Ascension ranks 4th in the state with a composite score of 20.6. The state average is 19.4.
“This is another demonstration that our students perform to high standards and is indicative of the exceptional teaching present throughout the district,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol. “Although we continuously look at ways to build upon our successes, we already have much of which to be proud.”
Earlier this year, LDOE data revealed 71 percent of Ascension graduates enrolled in college as opposed to 59 percent statewide. The district ranks 4th in the state in this metric, as well.
Other recent accolades include:
- President's Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science: Dutchtown High physics teacher Brenden Simoneaux;
- 2016 Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year Semifinalist: St. Amant High teacher Danielle Delaune;
- 2015 Louisiana 12th Grade Student of the Year Finalist: East Ascension High student Parker Vige;
- 2016 Louisiana Principal of the Year Finalist: Gonzales Primary Principal Jaimee Williams;
- 2015 Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year: former Pecan Grove Primary Principal Marjorie Meyers; and
- 2015 Louisiana Superintendent of the Year and National Superintendent of the Year Finalist: Patrice Pujol.
The ACT data released by LDOE was determined by seniors’ best score on the test. The “best score” method, used by colleges and universities for the purpose of admission and by TOPS for purposes of scholarship awards, calculates a student’s top score achieved any time the student took the test.
|DISTRICT NEWS, Simoneaux Wins Presidential Award for Excellence - 2015.07.15Ascension’s Brenden Simoneaux Wins Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
GEISMAR, La. – Ascension Public Schools teacher Michael “Brenden” Simoneaux won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Dutchtown High School physics teacher is one of only two in Louisiana to receive the national honor.
"These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Obama said in a White House press release. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.”
Each winner of this Presidential honor will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at his/her discretion. They also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony, as well as educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.
“Students in Ascension Parish have long benefited from Brenden’s exceptional teaching. It is wonderful to see his expertise and hard work rewarded on a national stage. A homegrown teacher with a world view, his success reflects well on Ascension Parish and Louisiana,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol.
“Having a faculty full of stellar teachers like Brenden Simoneaux is vital to the success of Dutchtown High School. Mr. Simoneaux is a hard-working science teacher who holds high standards for himself and for his students. This prestigious award is well-deserved, and we are proud of the accolades Mr. Simoneaux is receiving by being named a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching,” said Dutchtown High School Principal Carli Francois.
ABOUT BRENDEN SIMONEAUX
Born and raised in Prairieville, Louisiana, Brenden Simoneaux comes from a long legacy of Ascension Parish educators. Between the members of his family - his grandmother, great-grandmother, and her siblings - they taught a total of 100 years in the Dutchtown schools.
His great grandmother, Celanie Babin Pellerin, attended the Normal School in Natchitoches (what is now Northwestern State University) to become a teacher. Her eight younger brothers and sisters followed in her footsteps. The great uncle of Mr. Simoneaux, Larry Babin, went on to become Superintendent from 1913 to 1925.
Raised in walking distance of Dutchtown Middle where the library now stands, his grandmother, Claire Schmidt, was also an educator. She taught for 34 years both for Ascension Parish and then at St. James Episcopal School in Baton Rouge. Simoneaux remains close to his grandmother, who will turn 96 in August.
“I would be remiss not to mention the constant encouragement of my grandparents – both of them graduates in education from LSU – in shaping my life,” said Simoneaux.
After graduating from St. Amant High School, Simoneaux earned an undergraduate degree in education from Louisiana State University in 1988, specializing in chemistry, physics, and earth science.
An avid musician who plays the piano, oboe and trombone, he earned a master’s degree in music education from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1993. While at Southeastern, Simoneaux played in the Jazz Band, and he has also performed in the Baton Rouge Concert Band for over 30 years.
His teaching career began at East Ascension High School, where he taught physical science, chemistry and honors classes. In 2003, Simoneaux moved to his current appointment at Dutchtown High School and began by teaching chemistry before switching to physics.
“I liked it because it was a change for me. I had to work very hard at LSU in physics courses and never dreamed I would be teaching it, much less winning a national award,” he said.
THE “FUNKYNESS OF PHYSICS”
Simoneaux strives to find ways to promote excitement about science within every student. “Not everyone finds chemistry easy, but they have to take it so I try to make it understandable,” he said.
The wall of his former chemistry classroom at Dutchtown High displays evidence of his teaching philosophy. Instead of making his class simply memorize the periodic table, he assigned an element to each student. Each had to research the element, design and then paint a visual interpretation of that element. The result was a vibrant piece of artwork rich with imagination, school spirit and multidimensional understanding of basic chemical properties.
“A speech teacher once told me 'you have to make your class entertaining so they will enjoy it and want to learn.' Teaching with hands-on activities and having a sense of humor are ways I try to make the learning fun,” said Simoneaux.
For example, to Simoneaux, it’s not just chemistry and physics. It’s the “coolness of chemistry” and the “funkyness of physics.”
One of his favorite teaching moments came at the end of the year when students turned in a required lab binder with a customized cover. “They had all the anecdotes and quotes I said throughout the year written on the cover. They even drew pictures of some of my sayings. That showed me they really enjoyed the course and having me as a teacher,” he said.
BRINGING NATIONAL BEST PRACTICES TO LOUISIANA
Brenden Simoneaux consistently works to improve his teaching methods by staying on the cutting edge of national best practices and technology integration. In the late 1990s, he was the first teacher in Ascension Parish to have an Internet connection in the classroom.
Now, he travels across the country to the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry in San Francisco to learn new methods of teaching and bring them back to Louisiana. Not only does he implement the new methods in his own classroom, but he also conducts teacher workshops at LIGO in Livingston Parish.
LIGO, which stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a scientific collaboration of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The National Science Foundation funds the program.
“I try to keep spreading what I have learned by volunteering time at LIGO for teacher workshops. This summer I am going back to the Exploratorium to learn about the next generation of science standards. That will give me the foundation to give workshops this year at LIGO and after school in our department,” said Simoneaux.
STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
In addition to his cutting-edge and approachable teaching style, Simoneaux credits the many mentor teachers who influenced his career. Chief among them was Conrad Braud, who supervised his student teaching and later became a colleague in teaching chemistry and his principal. Also, colleagues like Jill Holdridge, who worked alongside him for nearly 20 years, encouraged him and set a high standard for rigorous expectations in the chemistry department.
“I also recognize how fortunate I was to have many exceptional teachers in the Ascension Parish schools, from English to math to music teachers, as I obtained my public education here; not to mention the many inspirational professors at LSU and Southeastern – again in very diverse disciplines,” said Simoneaux.
He went on to say, “I am reminded of a quote from Sir Isaac Newton, ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ I am certainly no Isaac Newton, but I understand the meaning of what he was trying to convey.”
MORE ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL AWARD
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The awardees named this year teach 7th through 12th grades.
To learn more about the award recipients, visit recognition.paemst.org.
|DISTRICT NEWS, Free & Reduced Meals Policy for 2015-16 - 2015.07.14
GONZALES, La. – The Ascension Parish School Board Child Nutrition Program announces its policy for free and reduced price meals served under the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Program(s). All schools and the central office have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.###
The following family size and annual income criteria will be used for determining eligibility:
|REDUCED PRICE MEALS – 185% ||FREE MEALS – 130%|
|Annual ||Monthly ||Twice/ Month ||Every 2 Weeks ||Weekly ||Annual ||Monthly ||Twice/ Month ||Every 2 Weeks ||Weekly|
|1 ||$21,775 ||$1,815 ||$908 ||$838 ||$419 ||$15,301 ||$1,276 ||$638 ||$589 ||$295|
|2 ||$29,471 ||$2,456 ||$1,228 ||$1,134 ||$567 ||$20,709 ||$1,726 ||$863 ||$797 ||$399|
|3 ||$37,167 ||$3,098 ||$1,549 ||$1,430 ||$715 ||$26,117 ||$2,177 ||$1,089 ||$1,005 ||$503|
|4 ||$44,863 ||$3,739 ||$1,870 ||$1,726 ||$863 ||$31,525 ||$2,628 ||$1,314 ||$1,213 ||$607|
|5 ||$52,559 ||$4,380 ||$2,190 ||$2,022 ||$1,011 ||$36,933 ||$3,078 ||$1,539 ||$1,421 ||$711|
|6 ||$60,255 ||$5,022 ||$2,511 ||$2,318 ||$1,159 ||$42,341 ||$3,529 ||$1,765 ||$1,629 ||$815|
|7 ||$67,951 ||$5,663 ||$2,832 ||$2,614 ||$1,307 ||$47,749 ||$3,980 ||$1,990 ||$1,837 ||$919|
|8 ||$75,647 ||$6,304 ||$3,152 ||$2,910 ||$1,455 ||$53,157 ||$4,430 ||$2,215 ||$2,045 ||$1,023|
|For each additional family member add: || $7,696 || $642 || $321 || $296 || $148 || $5,408 || $451 || $226 || $208 || $104|
Application forms are being sent to all homes, along with a letter to households. To apply for free or reduced price meals, households should fill out one application for the household and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at each school. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. The information provided by the household is confidential; it will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Information may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.
All children in households with any household member receiving benefits under Assistance Programs (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)) are eligible for free meals. For school officials to determine eligibility, each household that is now receiving benefits from Assistance Programs must provide the case number of a household member as well as the signature of an adult household member.
All other households must provide the following information on the application: names of all household members; the amount of income (before deductions for taxes, Social Security, etc.) each household member receives; how often the person receives the income; where it is from, such as wages, retirement, or welfare; the signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct; and the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signed the application, or a statement that the household member does not possess one.
Children categorized as foster, homeless, runaway, migrant, or enrolled in state-funded Head Start or Even Start programs, if known, are automatically eligible for free meals. School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the program office and notify the household of their eligibility for benefits. The household must notify the school if it chooses to decline benefits. The household should complete an application if they are not notified of free meal eligibility by: September 22, 2015.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for meal benefits.
Under the provisions of the free and reduced price policy, Randy Watts, Human Resource Director, will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent or guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the official, he may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If the parent wishes to make a formal appeal, he may make either an oral or written response to the following:
Name: Randy Watts, Director of Human Resources
Address: P.O. Box 189 Donaldsonville, LA 70346
Phone Number: (225) 391-7000
The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedures.
Non‐discrimination Statement: The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online athttp://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email email@example.com.
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
|DISTRICT NEWS, LA'S OUTGOING PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR REFLECTS - 2015.07.07GONAZALES, La. – On July 11, 2015, the Louisiana Department of Education will announce the 2016 Principal of the Year, an honor earned last year by Pecan Grove Primary Principal Marjorie Meyers. This summer, Meyers took some time to reflect on the statewide honor and the legacy she leaves behind.
A LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP
Just days away from transitioning to an instructional leadership position in the Ascension Public Schools district, the 2015 Louisiana Principal of the Year sat at her desk amid boxes and a partially packed office as she prepared to leave the school she opened just seven years ago. Instead of being sad Meyers embraced the change, having accomplished much in her time at Pecan Grove Primary and leaving a legacy of leadership.
“I could go for a week and this school could run without me because I hired and mentored decision makers,” said Meyers. “Those in leadership know my expectation is to ‘grow and go.’ I want to make you ready for the next position.”
Among her mentees are new Pecan Grove Primary Principal Amy Champagne and Assistant Principal Allison Brown, as well as Gonzales Primary Principal Jaimee Williams, who is a finalist for the 2016 Louisiana Principal of the Year. “I was always looking for people who could make decisions because I did not want to be tied to my office. I wanted to be in the classrooms, so I could focus on my passion: instruction,” said Meyers.
AN ACCIDENTAL ADMINISTRATOR
After 30 years in education (26 of those in Ascension Parish), Meyers calls herself an “accidental administrator.” She always planned to retire as a first grade teacher, but while serving as an adjunct instructor at LSU, she found enjoyment in working with adults. When Ascension Public Schools created a new “teacher coach” position, Meyers found it to be a perfect blend of her skills in teaching and mentoring. While serving as a teacher coach at G.W. Carver Primary and Gonzales Primary, Meyers’ interest in school leadership sparked.
“Seeing the impact that one person could have over an entire school blew me away,” she said. She served as Assistant Principal at Gonzales Primary for two years before becoming principal of a new school in Gonzales, Pecan Grove Primary. TRIAL BY FIRE When Pecan Grove Primary opened in 2008, its entire administrative team was green. “Not a one of us knew her new role,” said Meyers. “We all developed on the fly and made it the best we could.”
In addition to a new team, the new facilities had growing pains. The phones did not work on the first day of school, and there was no Internet access for months. Yet, working through the challenges brought Meyers’ team closer. “We became a very cohesive team because we went through the fire together,” she said.
A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED TURNAROUND SCHOOL
Created to ease the overcrowding at Gonzales Primary and G.W. Carver Primary, Pecan Grove’s student performance on testing earned the school a state letter grade of D. In 2011-12, the school implemented the TAP System, a national model for turnaround efforts in student performance. Based on intense review of student data, the TAP System included weekly professional development and instructional coaching for teachers to improve instructional effectiveness. “TAP has been a wonderful platform to grow success at every level,” said Meyers.
In just four years, Pecan Grove jumped from a D to a B in the state’s letter grade performance metrics. Those efforts led to earning the prestigious TAP Founder’s Award earlier this year. The $50,000 award funded by the Lowell Milken Family Foundation is given annually to one school in the country for exceptional efforts to implement and represent the principles of TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement.
The award announcement in March of 2015 marked a second high point for Meyers and Pecan Grove in an otherwise challenging year.
A YEAR OF TEARS
When Marjorie Meyers was named the 2015 Louisiana Principal of the Year on July 12, 2014, she had no idea it would mark the beginning of her most challenging year to date. Five employees lost family members including her secretary’s grandson, a five-year-old student at Pecan Grove killed in a car wreck.
“This past year was filled with many personal tragedies. We spent most of the year attending funeral services and cooking meals for our coworkers. Balance that with several faculty births, and we were crying all year out of sadness and joy,” said Meyers.
Although very hard, the challenging year brought the school and community together. The loss of its third student in three years due to improper car restraints prompted an award-winning outreach campaign called #SitStrapSave. Created by Pecan Grove Assistant Principal Pamela Hughes and her daughter, Alyssa, the campaign organized nine awareness events and distributed over 150 booster seats. The Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A PEL) named one of the organizers, Jody LeBlanc, the 2015 Volunteer of the Year for Ascension Parish. He was recognized in a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion earlier this summer.
“This is an action-oriented group that channeled grief into something positive. I am very proud of their initiative,” said Meyers.
It is fitting that Meyers’ next step is a leadership role in a school district she credits for much of her success. “I feel kind of like a phony because I have been honored at the state and national levels for doing the things this district has challenged me to do,” said Meyers.
Recently retired educator Sheila Savoy had the biggest impact on Meyers’ leadership style. “Sheila’s the person I have tried to imitate. She’s humble and doesn’t give you the answers. Instead, she asks the right questions to get you to the answer. Many times I have asked myself, ‘What would Sheila do?’” said Meyers.
As Ascension Public Schools waits to see if it will have back-to-back Louisiana Principal of the Year winners, there is no doubt Marjorie Meyers has left her mark and future school leaders will be following her example for years to come.
|DISTRICT NEWS, Williams is State Principal of the Year Finalist - 2015.06.23
GONZALES PRIMARY PRINCIPAL JAIMEE WILLIAMS IS A FINALIST FOR LOUISIANA PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR
Ascension Public Schools Poised for Back-to-Back Honors
GONAZALES, La. – On July 11, Ascension Public Schools will find out if it has back-to-back winners of Louisiana Principal of the Year. Pecan Grove Primary Principal Marjorie Meyers is finishing her reign as the 2015 winner and Gonzales Primary Principal Jaimee Williams is one of nine finalists for the 2016 honor.
“We are blessed with hardworking, dedicated leaders at Ascension Public Schools who believe in the success of every child. The positive change Principal Williams has enacted at Gonzales Primary in such a short time proves strong leadership can transform an entire school. I am immensely proud of her and believe she is deserving of this honor,” said Patrice Pujol, Ascension Public Schools Superintendent and the 2015 Louisiana Superintendent of the Year.
“Earning the state honor would be validation for my staff, students and the community of Gonzales Primary,” said Williams. “I believe it is the absolute greatest school in Ascension Parish and the state, and I am the luckiest principal in the world.”
During her first year as principal of Gonzales Primary in 2012, Williams was faced with turning around a school that was one point away from an “F” in student performance. Her first task was to raise expectations and position teachers to meet those expectations. She ended up hiring 13 new teachers between September and November of that first year.
“My priority was to seek out teachers who wanted to be here and believed in our ability to achieve success. Then, I had to promote the good, as success breeds success. Essentially, we had to build a culture of collective efficacy,” said Williams.
Her first milestone came after Christmas of that first year when she compared quarterly performance data to the previous year and already saw improvement. By sharing that with her teachers, it reinforced the belief and drive.
Williams’ strategy worked and by mid-May, Gonzales Primary’s performance scores grew an astounding 26 points to be one half a point short of a “B.”
“I was crying, in complete shock and awe over what we had accomplished,” said Williams. “That’s when we solidified the mindset that we are a high performing school.”
Jaimee Williams could be considered a non-traditional educator because she began her career in a different field.
“I know this is my calling because I never saw myself becoming an educator, yet it is the most rewarding, fun, and hardest job I have ever had. This is so much more than a job to me,” said Williams.
Originally from Los Angeles, she attended high school in Natchez, Mississippi, and came to Louisiana to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication in 2000 and worked for the New Orleans Saints in sales and marketing before moving to community relations.
She never considered working in education until the Saints partnered with Teach for America, and she started working with the local schools. That experience prompted her to pursue alternative certification.
Williams taught in Iberville Parish for two years before moving to Ascension Parish to teach fifth grade at Gonzales Primary. In 2008, she became the instructional coach at Pecan Grove Primary, a new school led by Marjorie Meyers, the 2015 Louisiana Principal of the Year.
“I learned pretty much everything I know about leadership from Margie, like how to build your own culture,” said Williams. “It is an honor and a blessing to follow in her footsteps.”
In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Southern University. Then after serving two years as Assistant Principal of St. Amant Primary School, she returned to Gonzales Primary as Principal and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Southeastern Louisiana University.
A SUPPORT NETWORK
Family has had the biggest influence on Williams’ life and career goals, specifically the grandmother who helped raise her, Emma Wimley; her father, Earl McCullen; and her 10-year-old daughter, Kynedee.
“My dad is my biggest supporter. He went to college with the intent to become an educator, and he always pushed and believed in me,” she said.
Williams also credits the Ascension Parish school district for her growth as a leader and says Superintendent Pujol’s leadership continually inspires her. According to Williams, she has learned that an effective leader must know her staff and be in tune with what a positive culture looks like on her campus, as every campus culture is different.
“You have to listen to what teachers are telling you. They are the absolute experts on what is working and what is not in the classroom. You have to give and earn mutual respect,” said Williams. “My teachers have to see me as a learner and not just the gatekeeper of information.”
ON THE HORIZON
After achieving significant gains in student performance and overhauling the campus culture, what is on the horizon for Principal Williams and Gonzales Primary?
“We are now in a different playing field. It’s not just good enough that we are meeting basic level performance. We must continually raise expectations,” she said.
“Our next focus is to get more community and industry involvement in our school. We want to give our students the opportunity to see the successes in their own communities and know what opportunities are available to them if they work hard,” said Williams.
The winner of the 2016 Louisiana Principal of the Year will be announced at the Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration on July 11, 2015 in Baton Rouge. For more information about the statewide program, visit http://dreamteachers.org/semifinalists2016.html.
|DISTRICT NEWS, NEW LEADERSHIP HIRES ANNOUNCED - 2015.06.05
| DONALDSONVILLE, La. -- Summer is a busy hiring time for education. This week’s annual job fair attracted over 250 people, and Ascension Public Schools recently filled key leadership positions at the central office, APPLe Digital Academy, Pecan Grove Primary, and Lowery Middle School.
"We are the largest employer in Ascension Parish, and I feel that we have the most talented and dedicated education staff in Louisiana," said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol. "This is always an exciting time when we see new leaders emerge and grow our employee base to keep up with annual student enrollment increases."
Scroll down for specific position announcements. Marjorie Meyers Murry, Instructional Leadership Partner Marjorie Meyers Murry, Louisiana’s Elementary Principal of the Year from Pecan Grove Primary, was promoted to Instructional Leadership Partner, where her expertise will be utilized across the district.
Originally from Denham Springs, Murry has worked in education for 26 years including as a principal, assistant principal and teacher coach. She served as Pecan Grove Primary's Principal since 2008 and won the national TAP Founder's Award this year for turnaround performance efforts. “I am looking forward to my continued service to the families of Ascension Parish in my new role as Instructional Leadership Partner,” said Murry.
She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University. Amy Champagne, Principal of Pecan Grove Primary Amy Champagne was named Principal of Pecan Grove Primary in Gonzales.
“I am blessed that the district has allowed me to return to Pecan Grove as the new principal and thankful for all the opportunities the district has given me throughout my career,” said Champagne.
Born in St. Amant, Champagne is a lifelong resident of Ascension Parish. Sixteen years ago she began at G.W. Carver Primary as a first and fifth grade teacher. She served as a literacy and instruction coach at Donaldsonville Primary, then a master teacher at Pecan Grove Primary until her most recent position as assistant principal of Duplessis Primary.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and a master’s degree from the American College of Education. In 2006, Champagne achieved National Board Certification.
Lynn Hathaway, Principal of APPLe Digital Academy Lynn Hathaway was named Principal of APPLe Digital Academy in Darrow. APPLe enrolls 250-300 students in remediation, High School Equivalency, and online programs.
“I am thrilled at this opportunity,” said Hathaway. “I truly believe in the mission of Ascension Public Schools, ‘Every Child Successful in an Ever-Changing World,’ and I believe APPLe lies at the core of that mission.”
Hathaway, a native of Steubenville, Ohio, practiced law before becoming a special education coordinator and Assistant Principal of APPLe Digital Academy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Youngstown State University, a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University, and a master’s degree in special education from Louisiana State University.
Paul Sampson, Assistant Principal of Lowery Middle School Paul Sampson was named Assistant Principal of Lowery Middle School in Donaldsonville.
Sampson, born in Evanston, Illinois, and raised in Baton Rouge, joined Ascension Public Schools in 2010 as a teacher and athletic academic coordinator/coach at East Ascension High School. Prior to joining Ascension, he worked as a financial advisor for J.P. Morgan Chase.
“I am thankful to Coach Randy Watts, Ms. Lauren Avery and the East Ascension community for supporting and preparing me for this position. I look forward to becoming part of the Donaldsonville community and assisting Principal Grimes and her leadership team,” said Sampson.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Louisiana State University. Sampson's wife, Dareth, is a counselor at St. Amant High School. Their daughter, Grace, will turn two years old in August.
Jackie Tisdell, Public Information Officer for Ascension Public Schools Jackie Tisdell was named Ascension Public Schools new public information officer. Born in Baton Rouge and a resident of Prairieville, Tisdell holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Centenary College of Louisiana and a master’s degree in communication from Louisiana State University.
Over the last 12 years she worked for the University of Louisiana System (UL System) as Assistant Vice President for Communications, Executive Director of Student Initiatives and Outreach, and Assistant Director of Communications. The UL System is the management board for Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.
“It is an honor to work for Superintendent Patrice Pujol and Ascension Public Schools. Over 10 years ago, my husband and I moved to Ascension Parish because of the school system. Today, our two sons attend Prairieville Primary, and we have had exceptional educational experiences at both the school and district level. I look forward to communicating all the wonderful things taking place across the school system,” said Tisdell.
For more information about Ascension Public Schools, visit www.apsb.org. Click here for job openings and employment information.
Mailing Address | PO Box 189 Donaldsonville, LA 70346
Central Office | 1100 Webster Street Donaldsonville, LA 70346 | (225)
391-7000 | (225) 257-2000