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JP Schools Announces Principals of the Year

The Jefferson Parish Public School System named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Principal of the Year.

The following principals are now eligible to become the 2020 Louisiana Principal of the Year.

  • St. Ville Elementary – Terrah Averette-Harrison
  • Marrero Middle – Christina Conforto
  • West Jefferson High – Vanessa Brown-Lewis

“When it comes to the impact of a single individual, a principal has the capacity to effect the most positive change on their campus,” said JPPSS Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “Our Principal of the Year winners have embraced the role of instructional leader, set high standards for students and educators, and modeled what it takes to ensure all our kids have the tools to be successful in life.”

In partnership with the Louisiana Association of Principals, the Louisiana Department of Education annually honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Principal of the Year program. The Louisiana Principal of the Year awards program provides an opportunity to acknowledge those educators who are making exceptional gains with students.

Terrah Averette-Harrison is moved to tears after her students and teachers surprise her with the news that she’s the district’s elementary school Principal of the Year.

JPPSS Elementary School Principal of the Year Terrah Averette-Harrison has been principal of St. Ville Elementary for four years, since the school reopened during the summer of 2015. She was hired that June and only had 25 days to hire over 40 teachers and staff, as well as get the school ready to welcome over 500 students for the first day. Under her leadership, the school’s performance score has grown every year. St. Ville Elementary has been recognized for Top Growth and Top Gains by the Louisiana Department of Education.

“My vision then and now is simply to lead a team of educators that share my passion for teaching underserved students,” said Averette-Harrison. “Collectively and collaboratively, we work as agents of change to personify the persistence, passion, and pride this urban community needs.”

Christina Conforto listens as one of her students reads a poem dedicated to her during the Principal of the Year ceremony.

JPPSS Middle School Principal of the Year Christina Conforto has been the principal of Marrero Middle for seven years. Conforto and her team work to provide the best education for any child that enrolls at this diverse school. For some students, that means taking advantage of the school’s advanced academic offerings. For others, it means enrolling in the extra support periods for math or reading. Not only has Conforto made her mark on the school by moving its students forward, she also works to create leadership opportunities for her staff. Many of her former teachers and administrators are now leading schools of their own or serving on the leadership team at Marrero Middle.

“I enjoy coaching adults, and I see the need for effective leadership,” said Conforto. “However, I also take on this responsibility for the benefit of Marrero Middle School. Through creating a pipeline to leadership on my campus, I am able to retain talented teachers.”

The West Jefferson High band helps Vanessa Brown-Lewis celebrate after beings named Principal of the Year.

JPPSS High School Principal of the Year Vanessa Brown-Lewis has been the principal of West Jefferson High for six years. Brown-Lewis urges her teachers to seek opportunities outside the classroom that will expose more students to real world experiences. Under her leadership, the school has formed partnerships with numerous organizations that have exposed students to money management, the arts, STEM careers, and college tours. Since her first day on campus, she’s also been instrumental in building a sense a pride in what it means to be a West Jefferson High Buccaneer.

“I am greatly humbled by the collaborative spirit of our stakeholders and extremely proud of the strides we continue to make to improve the lives of our students,” said Brown-Lewis. “Our goal is to provide our students with opportunities to become more effective learners, responsible citizens, and college and career-ready individuals.”