The teachers of the year for the Jefferson Parish Public School system are Jessica Schwalb of C.T. Janet Elementary School in Marrero; Traci Vedros of Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies in Metairie; and Samuel Kane of John Ehret High School in Marrero. They are now eligible to become the 2019 Louisiana Teacher of the Year.
“While these three educators differ in background and techniques, they are all very much alike in the fact that their work is founded in a strong desire to always put students first,” said JPPSS Superintendent Isaac G. Joseph.
In partnership with Dream Teachers, the Louisiana Department of Education annually honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher of the Year program. The awards program provides an opportunity to acknowledge educators who are making exceptional gains with students.
Schwalb, who has been an educator for 13 years, teaches third-grade English language arts. Last year around 90 percent of her students met or exceeded their reading goals on assessments. Along with being a mentor teacher at her school, Schwalb helps develop teachers across the district and the state. She also mentors students in the teacher-preparation program at the University of Holy Cross.
Vedros, who has been an educator for 25 years, teaches eighth-grade English language arts. From writing and winning grants to constantly honing her own skills through professional development, this highly effective teacher makes a recognizable impact on her students. Last year 63 percent of her students scored Advanced on LEAP, more than double the number for those students the year prior.
Kane, who has been a teacher for five years, teaches 10th- and 12th-grade English. Along with making an impact in the classroom, Kane has dedicated his time to creating the coding and gaming club and the travel club. He created the travel club when he discovered a number of his students rarely traveled outside their community or state. The club has sent students to England and France, and has trips planned in the coming years to Spain and Greece.