Be it as a teacher, administrator or principal, Marsha Walters has been educating students in St. Charles Parish for the past four decades – and she has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“It’s all gone by quickly,” Walters said. “I come in each day with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.”
Walters, in her eleventh year as principal of Allemands Elementary School, was recently honored by St. Charles Parish Public Schools for her 40 years of work in the school system and received a service pin to commemorate her longtime contributions.
“I can truly say it was one of the most joyful times in my career,” Walters said. “Knowing that God has blessed me with the health and the stamina to have this kind of career … I’m extremely proud that all of my years have been in St. Charles Parish. I don’t think I could ever find this kind of support elsewhere from everyone involved in the school system and our community.
“Did I plan to do this for 40 years? No. But could I have done anything else for that length of time? I don’t think so. I love my job.”
Walters became interested in becoming an educator in part because of her experiences growing up around her aunt, who was a teacher and principal.
“We were very close,” Walters said. “I watched all that she did for years. My older sister also became an educator, so I was always around it.”
She initially was a speech therapist before she became a special education teacher. After that, she became an administrative assistant who split time between Allemands and R.J. Vial elementary schools. Walters then had tenures at Lakewood and New Sarpy elementary schools before receiving a call from former St. Charles Schools Superintendent Rodney Lafon.
“He asked me if I was ready to come back home,” Walters recalled. “And I was. I came here and I’ve been here since, for 11 years (as principal).”
Walters said a major point of pride for her is a history of advocating for both children in her community and for her teachers at Allemands.
“The greatest adventure children have is finding their individual path to knowledge and understanding,” she said. “For me to be part of that adventure for so many children is incredibly rewarding.”
Walters said her top overall priority has been creating a positive environment where everyone at her school can be successful.
“I hope my faculty feels like I’ve been there for them and helped them get into the best possible position to teach our students,” Walters said.
She’s also not one to stay tucked away in her office all day.
“I believe in having high visibility as a principal,”Walters said. “It builds confidence with the faculty and also the community. Where our teachers are and where are students are, be it the classroom, the cafeteria, wherever, I want to be there with them.”
After 40 years does Walters have an idea as to when she’ll be ready to step away from it all?
“I guess when the Lord tells me its time,” she said. “I pray for guidance. But I can’t imagine doing anything else at this point. This community has embraced me. I’m very, very blessed.”