R.K. Smith principal loses battle with cancer

Michelle Stuckey
December 09, 2009 at 8:59 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

R.K. Smith Middle School Principal Nicole Colleen LeBeauf, 41, lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, Nov. 29. LeBeauf was an educator for 15 years and she had a true passion for teaching children, her co-workers and friends said.

“She was a true lady, wonderful educator and the ultimate professional,” said Superintendent Rodney Lafon. “This is a tremendous loss for her R.K. Smith family along with her colleagues and friends across the district.”
LeBeauf had been the principal at R.K. Smith since May 2007.
Co-worker Trina Douglas, an 8th grade math teacher at the school, said that LeBeauf was an inspiration.

“I have been teaching for 22 years, and when she came here two years ago, she really helped me to become rejuvenated and excited about the teaching profession all over again,” Douglas said. “It’s immeasurable the way we’re going to miss her. Things will never be the same around here.

“She is a person who is going to be very difficult to replace.”

LeBeauf graduated from Hahnville High School in 1986. Her teaching career began in 1993 at O. Perry Walker, and in 1997, she joined the teaching staff at Hahnville. She taught English there for five years before leaving to take a position as the human resources coordinator for the Orleans Parish school system.

In 2004, she served as an assistant principal at Hahnville until she was named principal at R.K. Smith.

Harold Blood, the assistant principal, is currently the acting principal at R.K. Smith.

Blood said the school will have a memorial service for LeBeauf at 1 p.m. on Friday at the school.

Blood also said that the school will not be the same without her.

“She had very high expectations for everyone: faculty, staff, students, parents, the community. She believed in these kids,” Blood said. “Her motto was always ‘It’s all about the children. The children come first.’”

Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, director of public information for the school district, said that LeBeauf will be missed by the entire school system.

“She was just a great educator, so it’s a big loss,” she  said. “She was a fighter until the very end.”

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