From left are: seated- Teachers of the Year Carmen Faul, Kayla Joseph, and Lacie Soileau; standing- Kelli LaFleur, special education director; Grace Sibley, Teacher of the Year Coordinator; Johnny Deshotel, high school supervisor; Darwan Lazard, superintendent; Sherral Tezeno, middle school supervisor; and Cheri Fontenot, elementary supervisor. (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)
Rising to the occasion
“I am just so honored and humbled,” said Lacie Soileau. “I work at a great school with a great staff in a great parish. To have been chosen for this honor is just extremely humbling. I’m very grateful and appreciative.”
Soileau, a science and social studies teacher at Mamou Elementary, was introduced this past Tuesday as the Evangeline Parish School District’s elementary teacher of the year.
She described herself as a “versatile and devoted classroom educator with over seven years of teaching experience including all subjects ranging from grades 1st-8th.”
During the past school year, 70% of her students exceeded their growth target on their individual end of the year target on their District Grade Level Assessment Science and Social Studies assessments by doubling their scores up to 90%.
Soileau has been teaching at Mamou Elementary since August 2019 after previously teaching English language arts and social studies at Mamou High on the 5th, 6th, and 8th grade levels. Since November of this year, she has been serving as an ELA Guidebook Companion Resource Liaison for students with cognitive disabilities for the Louisiana Department of Education.
Soileau received her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2011 and received her master’s degree in teaching from Louisiana College in 2016. She is also active in her community as PTC secretary at a local Catholic school, Ville Platte Lions Club Flea Fly coach and team mom, active member of the Association of Professional Educators for Louisiana, Free to Breath 5K participant, and March of Dimes March for Babies 5K participant.
Representing Evangeline Parish as middle school teacher of the year is Kayla Joseph, a 7th grade reading, English language art, and social studies teacher at Chataignier Elementary.
“It is an honor to be chosen especially by my peers,” she said, “and being chosen at the district level is very exciting and challenging. I am rising to the challenge to represent Evangeline Parish at the state competition.”
Joseph has been teaching in Chataignier since January of this year after teaching high school social studies, reading, and English language arts in St. Landry Parish. She taught at Northwest High School from 2016-2019 before teaching at Opelousas High School in 2019.
During her time in St. Landry Parish, she was responsible for a 92% student growth in English I in 2018-2019. That same year, her students scored 3+ on the AP United States History Exam increased 5% to 10% earning college credit and her US History LEAP 2025 students’ proficiency rate was 61% that surpassed the district’s and state’s proficiency rate of 59%. Over the 2017-2018 school year, notably 36% of her students passed United States History CLEP I exam earning college credit and her US History LEAP 2025 Students’ Proficiency Rate was 72% surpassing the district’s proficiency rate of 62%.
She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern State University in 2006 and began undergoing classes for her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in curriculum specialty in January of this year at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
When Joseph is not in the classroom, she can be found engaged in her community. Among her community activities are Pink Goes Red Stepping for Heart Health, Shoes for Souls Collections, Christmas Gift Drive, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, homeless care packages and free gumbo meals, and educational blog “Kaylable.”
Carmen Faul, an English II teacher at Ville Platte High School since October 2014, was chosen as the district’s high school teacher of the year.
She said, “To have been chosen as district teacher of the year has definitely been one of the highlights of my career. It truly validates that all of the work you do in your classroom is being recognized and that you’re making a difference in the lives of your students.”
Fifty-three percent of Faul’s students scored mastery and advanced and 88% of them scored proficient or better on the LEAP 2025 test taken at the end of this year’s fall semester. She was also chosen as the district’s middle school teacher of the year in 2019 representing Ville Platte Elementary.
Since July, she has been serving as a teacher leader advisor for the Louisiana Department of Education.
Faul received her bachelor’s degree in communication from McNeese State University in 2011 and her master’s degree in teaching in 2016 from Louisiana College.
Her activities include Senior BETA Club sponsor, Future Educators of Evangeline Parish co-sponsor, Literary Rally sponsor, and junior class sponsor.