While at Donaldsonville High School she was not only an English teacher, but also a mentor teacher. This means that she provided guidance to her peers in order to assist growth of students who weren't necessarily her own.

Carli Francois, the Principal of Dutchtown High School was recently named Louisiana High School Principal of the Year.

She said she is proud to represent her school and the griffin community, as well as Ascension Parish and the State of Louisiana.

"It's truly an honor," Francois said. "It's humbling. There are so many amazing principals, and I'm just lucky to be named amongst those educators."

Francois has been teaching since 1997 and moved to Ascension Parish in 2005. She started out as an English teacher at Dutchtown High School before moving on to Donaldsonville High School and East Ascension High School.

While at Donaldsonville High School she was not only an English teacher, but also a mentor teacher. This means that she provided guidance to her peers in order to assist growth of students who weren't necessarily her own.

As a mentor teacher, she started to realize that she was interested in the administration side of education. "When I saw that in Ascension, administrators are not just disciplinarians but are instructional leaders I was like, 'Yeah I can do that, I want to do that.'" she said.

Around that time she applied to be the Vice Principal at East Ascension High School. When the position as a principal opened up at Dutchtown High School, Francois saw her time as an educator come full circle.

"I would love to have my own vision of what school should be and can be come to fruition," Francois said.

Through efforts like #EveryGriffin and focused teacher groups, Francois continues to push for the individual student's success.

As a kid at a school with about 2,400 students it could be easy to get lost in the crowd, so Francois stepped up to do something about it.

"I started to realize at the rate this school is growing if we don't start focusing on individual kids and all that encompasses, then kids can fall through the cracks," she said.

What does #EveryGriffin mean exactly? Well, it's about the power and worth of the individual.

"Each of them brings so much value to this school, and we love them, and we want them to be successful.

" . . . The most rewarding part about being a high school principal is seeing the change that happens with kids over a four year period, but nothing is greater than seeing those kids who have struggled the whole way walk across that stage in May and earn a diploma.

"They never gave up, and we never let them off the hook. They kept pushing, we kept pushing," Francois said. "I love investing in these kids, and it truly brings me joy to cheer them on."

Reporter Logan Ridenour's "Local Heroes" is a weekly series that features people in Ascension Parish who are making a difference towards the quality of life in our area. It began in July 2019. If someone you know is a local hero, please let her know about it! Send an email and include a little bit about them to lridenour@weeklycitizen.com.