Board honors principals, teachers

Michael Tortorich

The Ascension Parish School Board recognized the principals and teachers of the year Tuesday night in Gonzales.

A standing-room-only crowd filled the courthouse annex meeting room for the announcement.

Superintendent Donald Songy said all three of the parish winners from the primary, middle and high school levels went on to win regional teacher of the year.

He said the district has never had three regional winners in one year.

“This is a first for Ascension Parish,” Songy said.

Maj. Donald Bailey of Donaldsonville High School won the district high school award and the state teacher of the year award.

Sandra Schneider of Dutchtown Primary School won for the district’s elementary division.

Eric Kehn of St. Amant Middle School won for the middle school level.

Parish teachers honored at the elementary level included: Jessica Swaye, Noelle Graham, Gwendolyn Bridevaux, Moquita Winey, Michele Courtney, Stephanie Mason, Adria Dunham, Leslie Watson, Lori Martinez, Kristin Magee, Brandi Bridges and Kay Dunn.

The middle school winners were: Jaclyn Bourque, Noelle Gabehart, Jennifer Gautreau, Angela Jordan, Rochelle Waggenspack, Shaneka Burnett and Sarah Moss.

The winners at the high school level were: Ryan Empson, Michael Briones and Dawn Casper.

In another matter, Songy announced that an Aug. 27 news conference has been scheduled at Gonzales Primary School to make the district’s bond issue election official.

The board has decided to ask parish voters to approve a $100 million bond extension on the Oct. 17 ballot.

The revenue would be repaid by extending the existing 15.08-mill property tax.

Officials have said rapid growth in the parish could lead to double the current school enrollment by 2030.

Songy also said the three new primary schools in the system will be dedicated Sept. 13 and Sept. 20.

Spanish Lake, Central and Lakeside opened to students for the first time last week.

A fourth school, Prairieville, will also be dedicated. The school opened last year, but its ceremony was delayed by Hurricane Gustav.

In speaking about the opening of the new school year, Songy said enrollment was up by about 300 students.

He said total enrollment figures are just under 20,000 students.

Songy said there were few problems on the first day at school, which he described as going “extremely smooth.”