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Meet the JPPSS Teachers of the Year

JPPSS teachers of the year Jessica Schwalb, Traci Vedros, and Samuel Kane.

JPPSS teachers of the year (from left) Jessica Schwalb, Traci Vedros, and Samuel Kane.

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

The following teachers 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. “We’re proud to have them represent the many outstanding teachers in Jefferson Parish Public Schools.”

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 Louisiana Teacher of the Year awards program provides an opportunity to acknowledge those educators who are making exceptional gains with students.

C.T. Janet Elementary 's Jessica Schwalb reacts to the news that she's the district's Teacher of the Year.

C.T. Janet Elementary ‘s Jessica Schwalb reacts to the news that she’s the district’s Teacher of the Year.

JPPSS Elementary School Teacher of the Year Jessica Schwalb teaches third grade English Language Arts (ELA) at C.T. Janet Elementary. She has been an educator for 13 years. Last year around 90% 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.

“After all is said and done, my mission is to help kids develop a love for reading,” said Schwalb. “From the witty rabbit to the determined daughter to the hardworking hedgehog, every book we read is carefully chosen to inspire them to strive to be the best that they can be.”

Haynes Academy's Traci Vedros and Superintendent Isaac G. Joseph share a laugh during her Teacher of the Year surprise event.

Haynes Academy’s Traci Vedros and Superintendent Isaac G. Joseph share a laugh during her Teacher of the Year surprise event.

JPPSS Middle School Teacher of the Year Traci Vedros teaches eighth grade English Language Arts at Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies. She has been an educator for 25 years. 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% of her students scored Advanced on LEAP, more than double the number for those students the year prior. Along with familiarizing students with material, Vedros teaches that it’s okay to leave your comfort zone.

“I also credit the success to creating an environment where my students are comfortable taking risks,” said Vedros, “and even failing occasionally.”

Samuel Kane was treated to gifts and a sweet surprise by his John Ehret family after learning he is the Teacher of the Year.

Samuel Kane was treated to gifts and a sweet surprise by his John Ehret family after learning he is the Teacher of the Year.

JPPSS High School Teacher of the Year Samuel Kane teaches tenth and twelfth grade English at John Ehret High. He has been a teacher for five years. 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.

“My intentions are to educate students not only to ensure that they graduate, but also to increase the likelihood that their lives are enriched,” said Kane.”And they realize that the world is theirs to explore and mold as they see fit.”