St. Charles Parish Public Schools honored its 2018-19 teachers of the year during an “Evening Under the Sea” at the annual banquet held on March 14 at Ormond Plantation in Destrehan.
Three teachers were named Teacher of the Year: Jessica Glass at Destrehan High School (DHS), Bryan Perissutti at J. B. Martin Middle School and Angelle Bourgeois at Norco Elementary School.
The banquet was sponsored by Shell Norco and Cox Communications
At DHS, Jessica Glass’ decision to pursue teaching as a career came with her “amazing college algebra professor” who made math make sense and connected with her students.
“She inspired me and I felt as though I could make a difference in students’ lives, too,” she said. “During this time, I was a youth intern at my church; where I worked with high school students weekly. I realized that I could relate and connect with these students, and I had a passionate love of math. I could break concepts down and explain them in a way that other people could understand.”
Glass said her path became clear.
“I began coursework to earn my bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education.”
In her first semester at DHS, she was a floating teacher and a substitute one period of the day. It wasn’t ideal, but Glass stayed focused because she loved the school and recognized it as an opportunity for humility and to get better organized.
She became assistant soccer coach and organized a cross-country team in 2011. During her semester there, she helped change how Algebra 1 classes were taught for at-risk students, which led to her being named team leader, and more students passing math.
“Being a teacher has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life,” said Glass now with 11 years experience as a teacher. “Each day, I get to grow and affect change in young people’s lives.”
Bryan Perissutti was named Middle School Teacher of the Year with just 3-1/2 years experience in the position.
“At the end of my graduate studies in December 2015, if you had asked my colleagues in the program where I would end up, most would not have chosen the classroom,” Perissutti said.
He had made a name for himself in the Department of History and Political Science as a fierce debater, “a ravenous consumer of history” and a likely future Ph.D. candidate. But when he completed the Master’s program and came to the fork in the road, he chose the classroom.
“In my vision, I saw myself changing, impacting and enriching the lives of students through history,” Perissutti said. “Teaching, in short, offered glorious purpose and meaning to my life.”
The move into teaching has far exceeded his expectations.
“One of the greatest satisfactions I get as a teacher is when a student comes up to me and tells me how much more they love history after being in my class,” he said. “
The J.B. Martin Middle School teacher students’ lives with history after being in my class,” Perissutti said. “But even greater still is when students tell me I’ve saved their lives.”
For Angelle Bourgeois, becoming a teacher and making a difference in childrens’ lives has been her goal.
“My love of learning and passion for teaching became evident at a very young age,” said the Norco Elementary teacher. “It was my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Morris, who first ignited my passion for teaching and the many other extraordinary teachers that I had who continuously fueled my desire.”
In addition to her teachers, Bourgeois said her siblings inspired her, too.
Bourgeois’ brother was diagnosed with autism and her younger sister diagnosed with learning disabilities, both instilling a strong desire to share what she learned in school with them and finding ways to help them learn.
“Working with my siblings, provided me with a sense of pride and fulfillment,” she said. “It cemented my desire to become a teacher and help students, especially those with exceptionalities like my siblings, reach their potential and achieve a sense of success.”
In her love for her siblings, she found her calling.
Bourgeois considers her great contribution is educating future leaders, helping to excel academically and develop good character and integrity.
She recounted one example where a student she taught didn’t like school and often commented that he believed he wasn’t good at anything.
“I went above and beyond to make learning enjoyable and set out to not only teach him the required concepts and skills, but to help develop self-confidence,” Bourgeois said. “By the end of that year, he demonstrated tremendous growth academically, as well as socially and emotionally.”
After moving away and returning for a visit, he shared with her how well he was doing in school and that he was tutoring children at his church. She fought back tears as she reminded him of his endless potential.
“We each play a vital role in the success of our students and together we can make a positive difference,” Bourgeois said. “I am honored to share my love of learning and passion of teaching to continue making a positive impact in education with my students and colleagues each and every day.”