Amy Toussel’s journey into the educational field wasn’t traditional, but the New Sarpy Elementary kindergarten teacher said she loves what she does.
Toussel graduated from college with a criminal justice degree. She worked in the field for two years before knowing that something had to change.
“I knew that being in criminal justice just wasn’t me,” she said. “The opportunities in that field just weren’t what I wanted to do. I continued to work at the sheriff’s office and I did the alternative certificate program at UNO for one year … then I was able to get hired on at a private school.”
And while criminal justice ended up not being the profession she was passionate about, it did lead her to teaching.
“Through criminal justice internships I worked with children, and if they could have had some type of intervention early on – education, care, love, counseling – then maybe they would have not gone down the road they did,” she said. “So I felt like I could be a teacher and help prevent them from getting into the system and help to open up doors for them.”
Toussel taught while earning her master’s degree, and after teaching in Lafayette for 11 years she landed a job with St. Charles Parish Public Schools. She’s been with the district for 14 years and was recently named the New Sarpy Elementary Teacher of the Year.
“To me there is no greater reward than to teach somebody a life-long skill like reading and writing,” she said. “That is the foundation for you to take for the rest of your life. That is so rewarding to teach someone how to do that.”
Toussel has been at New Sarpy for her entire district employment.
“We’re such a family … we really are,” she said of her peers at the school. “I’ve made some genuine friendships.”
Toussel mentors new teachers and college resident student teachers at the school site and is also heavily involved with the engaging stakeholders committee and the student leadership team.
“St. Charles Parish truly is top notch,” she said. “It’s amazing. The district supports us in every way. They genuinely want to make you better. They’re constantly pushing to make you the best you can be. I love it. To teach my student the lone of learning early … that’s my mission.”