St. Charles Parish Public School System’s Teachers of the Year were named at a March 9 banquet at Ormond Plantation.The 2016-17 Teachers of the Year are Judy Rongey of St. Rose Elementary School, Johnel Bryant Robinson of Harry Hurst Middle School and Amy Crochet of Hahnville High School.
Judy Rongey praised her mother as her first best teacher.
“I evolved into a teacher because of the many influences in my life, including my family, my teachers and scouting,” she said. “My most influential teacher was my first teacher, my mom. She was a single, teenage mother who did not finish ninth grade. She knew how difficult life was without an education, so she instilled in me that going to school and doing my best was very important. My mom made sure I had everything I needed to go to school.”
As a Girl Scout, she learned how valuable and rewarding it could be to help, to serve and make the world a better place.
Rongey said these guiding principals have stayed with her as a teacher.
“Teaching for 27 years has been a great honor and an accomplishment,” Rongey said. “I have continued to be an active and involved educator. I have constantly strived to learn the most about best educational practices, as well as learning as much as I can about each of my students. I devote extra time in developing relationships with my students by visiting their homes, attending their birthday parties and sporting events.”
Calling teaching “a work of heart,” Johnel Bryant Robinson also attributed her love for teaching to her mom.
“Through most of my years, I watched my mom, a retired administrator and longtime educator, enjoy her career,” she said. “Watching her inspired me to pursue a career in education. Yet, it was not until college graduation season that I decided to become an educator.”
After 16 years as an educator, Robinson said the most important gift she can give students is a love for learning.
“As I thumb through my portfolios, various compilations created for one position or another, no other section gives me more satisfaction and a sense of flow than the sections of the portfolios titled, ‘Communications and Inside the Classroom.’ These sections include letters from parents and students, as well as special keepsakes from students.”
Amy Crochet intended to become a lawyer then a psychologist and then discovered her true calling when she studied child and adolescent psychology. It led her to her dream job – a school guidance counselor and more.
“ Over the next 16 years, I taught a multitude of courses including Spanish I, Spanish II, ACT preparatory, Algebra I, geometry, Algebra I – Part I and Part II – and Geometry Honors,” she said. “No matter what subject I taught over the years, my motto has been the same – I teach children. Mathematics is my medium, but I teach students. Period. I teach them how to be responsible, how to respectfully speak to and interact with one another, and how to think for themselves.”
Crochet said she believes one of her greatest attributes is being able to impart knowledge to present and future teachers who are looking for ways to improve their craft.
“I believe I was meant to be an educator although the path I took to get here was quite long and sometimes twisted. When asked ‘What do you teach?’ the most common response is a particular subject, but my response is ‘I teach students how to do math.’ The cornerstone of my career has always been and will always be doing what is best for children.”
This year’s 15 finalists for the school system’s Teachers of the Year include:
• Judy Rongey, St. Rose Elementary School
• Jill Simon, Norco Elementary School
• Aimie Heiden, Mimosa Park Elementary School
• Jessica Farrell, Lakewood Elementary School
• Robin Jones, Luling Elementary School
• Chelsea Cooper, New Sarpy Elementary School
• Donna Reyes, R.J. Vial Elementary School
• Kristin Surmik, Ethel Schoeffner Elementary School
• Brad Ohmer, Albert Cammon Middle School
• Rebecca Lee, J.B. Martin Middle School
• Tammy Louviere, R.K. Smith Middle School
• Claire Castillo, Harry Hurst Middle School
• Johnel Robinson, Harry Hurst Middle School
• Cristina Hargis, Destrehan High School
• Amy Crochet, Hahnville High School
The banquet was sponsored by Norco Manufacturing Complex, Cox Communications and W.R. Grace.
The Teachers of the Year Program is a national program designed to honor outstanding teachers from each state.
On the local level, the school system names its Teachers of the Year and announce an elementary, middle and high school teacher as the St. Charles Parish Teachers of the Year.
All teachers of the year must complete an application with writing samples, be observed in the classroom and be interviewed by a selection committee.