St. Mary Parish School board honors top principal, teachers

By JEAN L. KAESS

CENTERVILLE, La. — For “transforming a growing generation of ‘Wee ’Jacks’,” Niki Fryou was named this year’s Louisiana Principal of the Year.

Fryou’s efforts were recognized by the state in July and she was recognized by the St. Mary Parish School Board Thursday.

Superintendent Donald Aguillard presented Fryou a plaque and bouquet before an audience packed with supporters during the St. Mary School Board meeting.

The statement on Fryou’s plaque exemplifies the district’s feeling: “By setting in motion a foundation of learning and excellence, you have transformed a young ‘Wee Jack’ generation into confident, academically-driven students capable of remarkable success. The district commends your compassionate instructional leadership and willingness to exert every effort in raising the educational stature of Hattie Watts Elementary.”

Hattie Watts Elementary in Patterson was named a 2011 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School.

Also recognized were the 2012-13 Parish Teachers of the Year: Teia Dolci of Bayou Vista Elementary, Mario Stephens of Berwick Junior High School and Rebecca Lamury of Patterson High School.

In other action, the board:

—Approved the 2012-13 fiscal year budget with no changes and no comment made during the public hearing that preceded the regular meeting. The gold book also was approved for the year.

—Received quarterly group health insurance summary indicating a loss ratio of 116 percent.

—Declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Isaac retroactive to Aug. 27. The school system’s estimated cost for repairs and cleaning is $130,000. Insurance will not pay on this claim as it does not meet the deductible, so Federal Emergency Management Agency funds will pay the majority with the school system picking up the rest.

—Approved four types of liability insurance at a cost of $390,064.

—Learned total sales tax collections for the first two months of the new fiscal year total $2.9 million and are 11.7 percent above budget. This does not include the month in which hurricane expenditures were recorded.

—Granted the superintendent the authority to accept retirements as requested by employees without board approval.

—Agreed to remove 20 cypress trees and stumps at Shaw and Magee parks at a cost of $10,000 to come from District 3 maintenance funds.

—Held a 58-minute executive session to discuss the case of Castaneda versus Poledore and the School Board. No action or discussion was held in open session.

—Authorized joining the state Department of Education Consortium for Technology Readiness 2014-15 that does not obligate the system to spend money, but indicates its recognition that all schools should have adequate technology resources to support online assessments.

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