Three teachers and three principals have been selected as the 2018-2019 St. Tammany Parish Public School System Teachers and Principals of the Year.
Named as 2018-2019 District Teachers of the Year are Malinda Meyer, Folsom Elementary in the Elementary Division; Lauren Bethancourt, Boyet Junior High in the Middle/Junior High Division; and Dr. Todd Tarifa, Northshore High in the High School Division.
The 2018-2019 Principals of the Year are Jeanine Barnes from Lyon Elementary in the Elementary Division; Mary Ann Cucchiara from Mandeville Junior High in the Middle/Junior High Division; and Saudah Blackman-Stokes from Salmen High in the High School Division.
“These six outstanding educators are extremely dedicated and devote their energy, passion and creativity to help their students succeed,” said Superintendent Trey Folse. “They are great examples of the difference teachers and school leaders make in our schools and community.”
Barnes also has been selected as a semi-finalist in the 2019 Louisiana Principal of the Year program held by the Louisiana Department of Education which honors the most exceptional school leaders from school systems across the state. She is among 24 principals selected to continue in the competition. Finalists will be announced in May, and all semi-finalists and finalists will be honored July 27th at the Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium in Baton Rouge where the state winners will be announced.
Teachers and Principals of the Year are selected based on their success with students and, for principals, their work to support teachers. Each year, one teacher and one principal at each level – elementary, middle/ junior high and high school – are selected as the district level winners and move on to compete in the state competition.
Malinda Meyer has been a teacher for over 19 years and has taught kindergarten at Folsom Elementary since 2015. She has collaborated with administrators and teachers to implement district curriculum for regular and special education students. She serves on her school Leadership Team, School Improvement Team, Computer Committee, Hospitality Committee and Math and Literacy Committee. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in early childhood from the University of New Orleans.
Lauren Bethancourt has taught 8th grade science at Boyet Jr. High for three years. As her school’s Science Department Head, she facilitates professional development workshops and leads collaborative planning between teachers. She is a member of the School Improvement Plan Committee and is chair of the Boyet Jr. High Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her teaching certification from the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators.
Dr. Todd Tarifa has been a teacher for over 20 years and has taught agriscience at Northshore High since 2013. He teaches agriscience, NCCER carpentry, small animal and horticulture, and also serves as assistant varsity girls basketball coach and head cross country coach. As the FFA Executive Board Sponsor, he works with students to plan FFA educational and community events and to compete in district, regional and state livestock shows. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctoral degree from Louisiana State University.
Jeanine Barnes was appointed principal of Lyon Elementary in 2005 after previously serving as assistant principal at the school. She has been an educator for 35 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and her master’s degree from Centenary College.
Mary Ann Cucchiara has been the principal of Mandeville Jr. High for 15 years. She previously served as assistant principal at Covington High and Resource Helping Teacher at Pitcher Jr. High. She has been an educator for 35 years. She received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree plus 30 from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Saudah Blackman-Stokes was appointed principal of Salmen High in 2016 after previously serving as assistant principal at the school. She has been an educator for 21 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and her master’s degree from Mercer University.