LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board has new reasons to celebrate after the state recently announced nominees for Louisiana Principal of the Year.
The latest news comes full circle for long-time educator and Washington Marion Principal Ronnie Harvey Jr.
Being an educator, undoubtedly, comes with its own set of challenges, and there’s none quite like what local educators have seen over this past school year. However, it’s a test that Ronnie Harvey Jr. has undoubtedly rose to in his short time as principal at Washington Marion High School.
“The year 2020 gave us an opportunity to evaluate many things,” said Harvey Jr.
At the core, the role of an educator - at least for him, has stayed the same.
”It’s truly about the kids, because I was that kid 21 years ago at this actual school. To be able to see this come back around, one of my biggest mentors in life was my high school principal Madelyn Miller.”
In his third year as principal at Washington Marion, Harvey now stands in the running for the state’s top honor for educators.
”This award, this nomination, everybody deserves a share - especially if you’re a principal in Calcasieu Parish.”
As a former student and teacher, Harvey says he prides himself on creating a family atmosphere within the halls of Washington Marion.
”We have a higher percentage of single-parent households, grandparents raising our students, aunts, and uncles raising our students. We strive hard to create that family atmosphere every day.”
Qualities that he has used to create a blueprint for Washington Marion and its role in the North Lake Charles community.
”There’s a lot of barriers in education, and I think we’re doing a good job of educating all children the same way. It doesn’t matter if you have a 4.2 GPA, 30 on the ACT, dyslexic, ADD, ADHD. We try to share the enjoyment of school with everybody. There are no barriers.”
While facing daily challenges in the wake of last year’s storms, Harvey says this moment in time comes full circle and is a credit to the examples he had as a teen.
”You realize how many people implanted that seed in your life, and you see what it’s growing to be.”
Finalists will be selected from this group and announced live at the 2021 Teacher Leader Summit during the plenary event on May 25 in New Orleans.
“Our teachers and leaders have been doing hero’s work over the past year to educate during the pandemic and a historically active hurricane season,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley said. “Congratulations to these 48 semifinalists. Our state is in a better place today because of their service to children and families.”
All Teacher and Principal of the Year Semifinalists will be honored at the 15th Annual Excellent Educators Awards Gala that will be held virtually on July 16. This exciting event is co-sponsored by Dream Teachers.
School systems from all across the state submitted nominations to the state-level Teacher and Principal of the Year process. The Department recognizes that great teachers and school leaders are critical to student success.
Annually, the department, in partnership with Dream Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Principals, recognizes and celebrates some of the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs. These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge those teachers and leaders who are making exceptional gains with students. Their commitment to student success exemplifies Louisiana’s education profession.
To learn more about the current and previous Teacher and Principal of the Year honorees, visit the Award’s Library.