The Louisiana Department of Education celebrated the work of some of the educators trusted to lead change in classrooms July 11 at the ninth annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration.

The event was a day of professional development and recognition for teacher and principal semifinalists and finalists, according to a news release.

Among the honorees was West Feliciana High School Principal Jim Carroll, who was named 2016 Principal of the Year.

Carroll, originally from Addis, has served as West Feliciana High’s principal for more than four years and previously taught math at the high school for seven. He also taught in Baker and served as a pilot instructor in the U.S. Air Force for 16 years. He is married to Deanie Guidry Carroll and the couple has a grown daughter, Erin Carroll Barclay, and grown son, Joshua Carroll.

“This honor could not go to a more deserving individual,” West Feliciana Superintendent Hollis Milton said. “Mr. Carroll leads with integrity, and the academic performance of West Feliciana High School has improved every year under his leadership.”

On Saturday, Kelly Stomps, a kindergarten through third-grade music teacher at Woodlake Elementary School in St. Tammany Parish, was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year. The 2016 Principal of the Year is Carolyn Bosley, of Rosepine Elementary School in Vernon Parish.

Seventeen candidates were named Principal of the Year semifinalists. From those, nine finalists were chosen and required to write an essay, then were interviewed by a selection committee in June.

Additional finalists recognized were 2016 Elementary School Teacher of the Year Pablo Menendez Pato, Geraldine Boudreaux Elementary School, Jefferson Parish; Middle School Teacher of the Year Summer Skarke, Lacache Middle School, Terrebonne Parish; and High School Teacher of the Year Nicole Vasquez, Captain Shreve High School, Caddo Parish.

Also, 2016 Elementary School Principal of the Year, Cheri Fontenot, James Stephens Montessori School, Evangeline Parish; and Middle School Principal of the Year Rene Lewis-Carter, Martin Behrman Charter School Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences, Algiers Charter School Association.

“This event inspires us to understand we have many great teachers and principals in Louisiana,” State Superintendent John White said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and the selfless gift they have given our state and our children. They have dedicated their working lives to making a better world. In these honorees, we see the best in our profession.”

“These outstanding honorees exemplify the leadership and commitment Louisiana’s teachers and principals demonstrate every day in preparing our students for the future,” said Holly Boffy, secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Boffy is a previous Louisiana Teacher of the Year.