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Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019

Bossier Schools’ Top Teachers of the Year

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Local educators honored as standouts at Bossier schools

The final days before the holiday break were made even more exciting for three Bossier Parish teachers who were surprised by an entourage, led by Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith, that burst into their classrooms with exciting news. They were chosen to represent the district as the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year.

Sarah Sterner is the Elementary Teacher of the Year. The Sun City Elementary educator has taught kindergarten the last nine years and has taken on numerous leadership roles, from kindergarten team leader and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Facilitator to Spanish Club co-founder and co-sponsor and Response to Intervention (RTI) school leadership team member.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl,” Sterner said. “To get to live out my dream is truly a blessing. My goal as a teacher is to teach my children to communicate with one another in effective ways and to learn problem-solving skills they can carry with them throughout life.”

The Bossier Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year is Ashley Holliday, who has taught mathematics for six years at Benton Middle School. Holliday is involved in numerous leadership roles including Math Department Chair at Benton Middle, Leadership Team member and a Level 2 Certified Google Educator. She has also served on multiple committees at the district level and was named the 2017 Louisiana Teachers of Mathematics (LATM) Outstanding Secondary School Mathematics Teacher.

“I am a firm believer that every child can learn, and that every child deserves a fresh start each day,” Holliday remarked. “Each Monday morning for the past year, I have made it a priority to begin my week by listening to a TED Talk by a woman named Rita Pierson. She speaks of the power of human connection and how meeting a students basic needs will get my foot in the door to help them learn. She speaks of how tough and heartbreaking our jobs can be at times, and the hardships our children go through. Each day, I remind myself of what Rita says. Every child deserves a champion and adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possibly be. I want to be each and every child’s champion.”

A self-professed lover of learning, Jenna Winkler will represent Bossier Parish as the District High School Teacher of the Year. The Parkway High School English teacher has spent 10 years in education, the past seven of those in Bossier.

Winkler is a content leader at Parkway, assisting colleagues with curriculum, and was singled out for being an outstanding teacher at T.O. Rusheon and Haughton middle schools, where she previously taught.

“In my classroom, I try to represent the team effort philosophy,” Winkler explained. “I always want my students to in the power of collaboration and learning from peers because they will be working with various groups of people throughout their lifetime. Not only do I want them to be proud of their own academic achievements, but I also want them to value each other while encouraging their classmates in their academic progress.”

Winkler added, “I love being an educator because this is a profession unlike any other. I have the opportunity to watch my students progress and take ownership of their academics. Many of my students will positively impact society, and knowing that about them makes my profession worth more than gold.”

Each school in Bossier Parish elects its own Teacher of the Year, who then competes at the district level. Sterner, Holliday and Winkler will now move on to the Regional Teacher of the Year competition in the spring with hopes of winning at that level and advancing as state finalists.

“These educators are already standouts at their schools, so to be chosen as our District Teachers of the Year speaks volumes about their expertise and passion for what they do,” said Superintendent Smith. “Teachers have the most important job there is, impacting children’s lives and helping to shape and mold them on their journey to success as adults. We thank each of our educators for what they do and congratulate the three who will advance to Regionals. They will represent Bossier Schools and all of us well.”

Sonja Bailes, Bossier Schools public relations liaison.

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