St. Rose’s Valentine named Principal of Year

Lost both hands, feet to sepsis


November 04, 2011 at 9:18 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Superintendent Rodney Lafon presents St. Rose Principal Merlyna Valentine with the 2011 Principal of the Year Award. Valentine was chosen by her peers for the honor. She continues to be an example for her colleagues even though she has overcome huge obsta
Courtesy photo
Superintendent Rodney Lafon presents St. Rose Principal Merlyna Valentine with the 2011 Principal of the Year Award. Valentine was chosen by her peers for the honor. She continues to be an example for her colleagues even though she has overcome huge obsta
St. Rose Elementary can officially boast the best principal in the parish this year.

Principal Merlyna Valentine was chosen by her colleagues as the 2011 Principal of the Year for St. Charles Parish and will now go on to represent the district at the regional level.

"I was extremely honored and humbled by being chosen, especially considering the many, many great leaders we have in St. Charles Parish Public Schools," Valentine said. "I could hardly contain myself… I’m very proud to represent such an esteemed group."

Valentine overcame many obstacles in recent years. She lost her hands and feet to sepsis in 2007 while dealing with a kidney stone. After having the amputations, she returned to work as soon as she learned to use her prosthetics.

"I knew I had a job to do. My determination was to get my life back. My district, St. Charles Parish, trusted me enough and believed in me - I can’t tell you how much that lifted my spirits," she said in an interview last year. "I love what I do, I love the kids - it’s my passion. The best therapy I ever had was coming back to work. I have been able to do the job better than I did before."

Valentine has been a teacher with St. Charles Parish for years. Before earning her current post as principal, she had previously been an elementary school teacher, writing extension teacher and administrative assistant at Ethel Schoeffner Elementary, Carver Early Learning Center and St. Rose Elementary.

She was previously awarded Teacher of the Year and School Administrative Support Employee of the Year by the district.

She is a member of the St. Charles Parish Reading Council, Louisiana Reading Association, National Alliance of Black School Educators, American Association of School Administrators, National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Louisiana Association of School Executives. It was also recently announced that Valentine will be awarded the Ida B. Wells Risk Taker Award given by the National Alliance of Black School Educators at its conference this month.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Loyola University and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of New Orleans.

Parishioners can see a day in the life of Valentine by visiting the school’s website at www.stcharles.k12.la.us and selecting "Video On-Demand."




View other articles written By Michelle Stuckey

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