JP Schools Honors its Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year
JP Schools named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year program. These individuals are now eligible to compete at the state-level to become the 2022 Louisiana Principal of the Year and Louisiana Teacher of the Year.
This year’s honorees for JP Schools Principal of the Year include: Diedra Miller, Isaac G. Joseph Elementary; Cherie Varisco, Allen Ellender School; and Dawn Matherne, Fisher Middle-High School.
This year’s honorees for JP Schools Teacher of the Year include: Diane Soignier, Greenlawn Terrace Elementary School; Michele Pellissier, John Q. Adams Middle School; and Catherine Coats, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies.
“These six individuals are deserving of this recognition, and I know that their students and colleagues are proud of their accomplishments,” said JP Schools Superintendent Dr. James Gray. “It is always a pleasure to acknowledge the hard work of our educators. This award serves as a reminder of the dedication our teachers and principals have, especially during a pandemic. I am proud of the work being done in Jefferson Parish Schools, and these individuals have set the example for best practices in delivering a healthy, safe and positive learning environment.”
In partnership with the Louisiana Association of Principals and Dream Teachers, the Louisiana Department of Education annually honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year program. The awards program provides an opportunity to acknowledge those educators who are making exceptional gains with students.
JP Schools Teachers of the Year
Greenlawn Terrace Elementary
Diane Soignier is an English Language Arts teacher at Greenlawn Terrace Elementary and has been an educator for more than 20 years. Soignier’s peers note that she goes above and beyond to create a sense of community among her students. Embracing classroom technology, Soignier utilizes comments in Google Docs and posts in Google Classroom as well as using frequent phone calls and emails to motivate and engage her students. Student assessment scores illustrate her effectiveness in the classroom, and, most notably, 44% of her students scored Mastery or above on the 2019 LEAP ELA.
John Q. Adams Middle
Michele Pellissier has been a teacher at John Q. Adams since 2017. In addition to being an excellent and compassionate teacher who has driven her students to show significant growth, Pellissier is a mentor and leader on campus. As Chair of the Special Education Department, Pellisier manages and trains the other Special Education teachers and has greatly contributed to organizational efficacy and quality instruction.
Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies
Catherine Coats has taught math and engineering at Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies since 2016. Bringing with her more than 20 years in the engineering industry, Coats has the practical experience to prepare her students for college and a STEM career. In her short tenure at Haynes, Coats has partnered with LSU to develop an Introduction to Engineering Course and actively participates in the development of curriculum and teacher professional development for core pre-engineering courses.
JP Schools Principals of the Year
Isaac G. Joseph Elementary
Diedra Miller has been a principal for four years, and is in her first year as principal of the newly formed Isaac G. Joseph Elementary School. Under Miller's leadership, her former school, Myrtle C. Thibodeaux, was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as a high-poverty, high-performing school and a Top Gains honoree for student growth.
Allen Ellender School
Cherie Varisco has served the students of Jefferson Parish for 29 years as a teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and Principal. She has served more than 10 years as a Principal with her last four years spent at Ellender. Under her leadership, student scores have consistently increased. Furthermore, Ellender received a “Top Gains” recognition in 2019.
Dawn Matherne has been the principal at Fisher Middle-High School for three years and has been a school administrator for 17 years. Fisher Middle-High is a B-rated school by the Louisiana Department of Education. Under Matherne's leadership, Fisher has become one of the highest achieving traditional high schools in Jefferson Parish and has increased in graduation rate, ACT index, college enrollment, and in the number of students earning an industry-based credential prior to graduation. Matherne credits the Fisher faculty, staff and the community of Lafitte/Barataria/Crown Point for the marked student improvement.