ZACHARY — More than 600 teachers, administrators and other employees filled a church auditorium Wednesday to hear that the Zachary Community School District is expected to “go beyond boundaries” in the new school year.
“We are not just your regular school system,” Superintendent Warren Drake said in his opening-year remarks. “We are not afraid to go beyond boundaries.”
“Our students can do so much more than we think they can do,” Drake said.
The district has been the state’s top-ranked school system, based on district performance scores, for six years.
Drake and state Interim Education Superintendent Ollie Tyler introduced the district’s “teachers of the year” for 2011-12. They are Kay Mestayer, Zachary Early Learning Center; Christy Wojohn, Northwest Elementary School; Brandie McNabb, Zachary Elementary; Tamela Wells, Copper Mill Elementary; LaShae Fletcher, Northwest Middle; Dwayne Chatelain, Zachary High, and Devan Spurlock, Port Hudson Career Academy.
The teachers will compete for regional or state honors later this year.
“We want to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty to help our young people learn. With your hard work, you’ve already gone beyond the boundaries,” Tyler told the audience.
Drake said the district will go through the process this year for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, which will culminate with a March 21 visit by an outside team.
“This is a very big deal, and we will be reaccredited,” Drake said.
Other highlights of the coming year are a free dental program for all elementary students and an energy conservation push across the district.
“Times are tight, but we were able to protect your (annual) raises. When you leave your classroom, turn out the light,” Drake said.
Foundation Hall, a two-story structure to house Zachary High’s ninth-grade academy, will open Oct. 1, and Drake said he is signing a contract to build a new school for the district’s first- and second-graders.
Zachary schools will begin using social media this year.
“We will enter the Facebook and blogging world. I don’t know how to do that, but I have people who do,” Drake joked.