JPPSS Announces Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals of the Year

The Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) has named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2018 Principal of the Year.

Gretna No. 2 Academy’s Tamara Warner, Rudolph Matas School’s Patricia Helmstetter, and Haynes Academy’s Karla Russo each received this prestigious honor. The three JPPSS educators are now eligible to become 2018 Louisiana Principal of the Year.

The winning candidates must demonstrate excellence guiding students of all backgrounds and abilities, positively impact student achievement, collaboratively build a culture of respect and success, and display innovative leadership that develops lifelong learners.

32177507836_7b809474e2_zTamara Warner has been principal of Gretna No. 2 Academy for two years. The JPPSS Elementary School Principal of the Year makes it a priority to ensure all students, teachers, and parents feel directly supported. Warner has a strong belief in the importance of continuous professional development for her staff and herself. She helps build on the individual strengths of her many teachers in order meet the school’s demanding academic goals.

“Supporting the teaching and learning process within my school is one of the most challenging, yet gratifying, responsibilities as the school leader,” said Warner. “This single aspect of leadership yields the strongest implications regarding students’ academic success and the growth of the school.”

32215692825_65fa42f18c_zPatricia Helmstetter has been principal of Rudolph Matas School for 22 years. Matas serves a diverse range of students, which includes a high percentage of students with special needs. The JPPSS Middle School Principal of the Year credits her staff, “who seem to work tirelessly,” with the success of this B rated school.

“During my 22 year tenure as principal of Rudolph Matas K-8 school, I have had the honor to be part of a tremendous amount of transformation and growth that has made this school the success that it is today,” said Helmstetter. “I am proud to say that Rudolph Matas has always been, and continues to be, a high achieving school.”

32177513506_b0d7914f3f_kKarla Russo has been principal of Haynes Academy for three years. The JPPSS High School Principal of the Year saw 88% of her junior class score a 25 or higher on the ACT. Russo has also helped the school score high marks in the community through her emphasis on engaging stakeholders.

“I feel this communication has opened the dialogue between the school and other stakeholders and provided more opportunities for community involvement,” said Russo. “This has helped us raise funding for additional projects, seek partnerships with local universities and corporations, and increase community presence on campus.”

In partnership with Dream Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Principals, the Louisiana Department of Education annually honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs.

The Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year awards programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge those educators who are making exceptional gains with students. Their commitment to student success exemplifies Louisiana’s teaching profession.