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JP Schools Announces 2024 Support Staff of the Year

Jefferson Parish Schools (JP Schools) named its district winners for the Support Staff of the Year program. This year’s honorees for JP Schools Support Staff of the Year include:

  • Bessy Ortez, Elementary School Support Staff of the Year from Green Park Elementary: Bessy Ortez is an employee who definitely displays outstanding leadership qualities in motivating others. She has been with our Green Park custodian team for less than two years, but she has already come to be known as a loyal member of our Green Park family. Her positivity around campus has caught the attention of all of her co-workers. She smiles all day and is always willing to go the extra mile to help others. Her bright spirit inspires other employees to smile and keep a positive attitude. Besides her regular duties and regular schedule, Ms. Bessy also takes on extra responsibilities and works extra hours on her own time without pay. She does this because she is committed to Green Park being a safe and comfortable place to learn. She comes early and stays late to put an extra coat of paint on a wall or to deliver an extra desk or table to a classroom that needs it. Never does she complain or say her shift has ended. She is rarely absent from work, and she has become a well-liked and respected co-worker to the other custodians. She has impressed the Plant Manager with her hard work, her ability to complete tasks in a timely manner, and her positive attitude. Her end goal is always to help the teachers and students of Green Park succeed. The students love Ms. Bessy, too! The majority of our students speak Spanish, just like Ms. Bessy does. So, she enjoys conversing with them about what they are learning in their classes and about how lucky they are to have the resources their classroom that she never had. Again, her permanent smile is contagious and they mirror her excitement about learning. There is not much that Ms. Bessy cannot do around school. She has painting skills, organization skills, knowledge about what type of cleaning products work best on different surfaces, knowledge about putting things together correctly, and she knows how to create and adhere to a schedule that ensures areas of our school are cleaned properly. Teachers and students often know when Ms Bessy is in their hallways because they smell the refreshing aroma of the cleaning products she uses. Some of her products are her own that she buys with her own money. But using them is just another example of how she goes above and beyond for the school. She knows the students and staff love those products, so she uses her own money on them. Bessy's daughter, Esther, is one of our fourth grade students. It is clear that she has passed down her strong work ethic and positive attitude to her. Bessy and Esther do volunteer work in the community in connection to their church. They help families who are in need with acquiring food and appliances. Ms. Bessy also helps with the school's cheer team, which Esther is on. Knowing the Spanish language allows her to assist other parents with information about practices and events. 
  • Angel Walker, Middle School Support Staff of the Year from Gretna Middle: She encourages students to be an active participant of school activities by promoting extracurricular programs and afterschool tutoring. After one meeting with Ms. Walker, students are eager to participate. This consistent student engagement allows her to push students to a higher level, always asking students to commit to building a positive climate and culture that works towards the mission of the overall school. Just as she asks students to commit, Ms. Walker is always committed to her own practices that directly affect students' well-being. Each day, Ms. Walker talks to teachers about what small changes she can make to contribute to student needs. The bonds that Ms. Walker continuously creates with teachers and students has an everlasting effect. Ms. Walker keeps students at the forefront and her dedication and commitment to students are unmatched. Her calming demeanor and overall positive attitude allow for smooth acquisition through the most challenging situations. 
    What makes Ms. Walker truly impactful to our campus is not just that she interacts with our students, she works to make our whole school better. Ms. Walker is a well-rounded employee that contributes to the overall functioning of the school. She uses student data to manage their behavior and track students' progress to provide rewards. She monitors student's behavior by allowing students to set instructional and behavioral goals and through her guidance, track their own progress for quick actionable steps towards improvement. Through self-reflection of her own practices, Ms. Walker continues to build the capacity of not only herself, but her students as well. Her students show significant growth year to year which is evident in their behavior and grades. Ms. Walker holds herself accountable to students and understands that her work directly impacts student achievement. Ms. Walker demonstrates outstanding leadership among her colleagues.
  • Juanita Landry, High School Support Staff of the Year from Riverdale High: Ms. Landry is a 4-hour maintenance worker at Riverdale High. Ms. Juanita is a team player and assists the school maintenance department on every level. Ms. Landry completes all of the ordering for the school's maintenance supplies as well as ensures all the supplies are checked in and that the invoices are paid. Ms. Landry has also rented machines, such as pressure washers, for our school to complete projects. Ms. Landry helps put in TMA (Tech Maintenance Assignment) tickets to help resolve issues such as broken air conditioners, heaters, and plumbing repairs at our school. Ms. Landry has worked to revitalize the gardens at Riverdale High. Ms. Landry has reached out to a local brick company to obtain bricks to border the gardens around our campus gardens. Ms. Landry has traveled to several nurseries, Home Depot, and Lowes to request donations for the Riverdale's garden improvements. In addition, she has donated additional time to clean around our fountains to prepare for our Ring Ceremony. Ms. Landry pressure washed the entire area around the fountains to ensure the Riverdale campus was beautiful school's Ring Ceremony. Ms. Landry is an asset to Riverdale High. Ms. Landry donated these additional hours to ensure our students have a clean, safe campus to attend. Ms. Landry has worked overtime hours to ensure the school is clean due to maintenance workers absences. Ms. Landry exhausted all of her overtime hours. Now Ms. Landry has volunteered/donated 300 hours of her time to Riverdale High this year. Ms. Landry used her donated hours for service hours needed for the Lions Club.