Ascension Parish educators announced as Teach Factor Fellows

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) named Ascension Public Schools Instructional Supervisor Laura Roussel and Master Teacher Shaneka Burnett as Teach Factor Fellows for the recently launched Teach Factor initiative. This initiative illuminates the stories of effective teachers, principals and superintendents to reveal scalable solutions for teacher leadership – a factor pivotal to the profession and student achievement.

“In our district, we as educators work together at every level to create a culture of growth and learning,” said Roussel. “I am excited to see the continued achievements of our students, and the continued collaboration among our educators to make Ascension Parish one of the best districts in Louisiana."

Roussel first began working in Ascension Public Schools in 1996 as a career teacher and progressed through her education career in roles such as teacher coach, master teacher, and state and district-based executive master teacher before becoming a district-level instructional supervisor who oversees teacher development.

Through The Teach Factor, NIET is working with educators like Roussel and Burnett across the nation to define the most effective models of teacher leadership and develop a formal structure that schools, districts and states can implement to maximize the impact of teacher leaders.

“I’ve seen firsthand the real difference that formal teacher leadership roles have made for my students and fellow educators,” said Burnett, who works at Duplessis Primary School. “I am so excited to draw upon my own experience and collaborate with other teachers to make experiences like mine the standard in schools across the nation.”

Burnett first began working in Ascension Public Schools in 2006 as a career teacher before becoming a teacher leader as a mentor in 2007, and finally a master teacher in 2015. Since implementing formal teacher leader roles in partnership with NIET, Ascension Public Schools has achieved marked improvement on achievement. The district also has an “A” state rating and is ranked among the top in state for student performance.

Teach Factor Fellows will participate in panels and roundtable discussions and share their stories of success in teacher leadership as well as their trusted resources at and on NIET’s social channels. They will share proven methods that have led to increased student achievement and promote these methods as best practices. Fellows also encourage other educators to share their stories on the site or via social media using #TeachFactor. Stories collected will be used to develop additional resources to benefit teacher leaders.

“We’re proud to have educators like Laura Roussel and Shaneka Burnett as Teach Factor Fellows," said NIET Co-President and Chief Strategy Officer Patrice Pujol. “Their success advancing teacher leader roles and impacting achievement in schools like those in Ascension Public Schools embodies The Teach Factor and serves as an example all schools, districts and states can follow."

More information and resources, including videos from 12 Teach Factor Fellows like Roussel and Burnett, are available by following @NIETteach on social media and at

Contributed by NIET and The Teach Factor