Several Ouachita Parish teachers from across the district were recognized for their outstanding instruction in the classroom this past week at the Joint Conference for the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LATM) and the Louisiana Science Teachers Association (LSTA) in Baton Rouge.
Calhoun Middle School’s Carmen Gonzales was awarded the 2023 LATM Outstanding New Math Teacher of the Year. Ms. Gonzales is in her second year as a teacher after spending the first part of her career in banking.
I've had an interesting journey to becoming a teacher, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it, Gonzales said. “Inspiring students to try something new, getting to see the excitement when they overcome a challenge, and encouraging them inside and outside of the classroom are just a few of the reasons that I love being a teacher.”
Good Hope Middle School teacher Jamie Hugghins was named the 2023 LATM Middle School Math Teacher of the Year. Ms. Hugghins has been in the classroom for 14 years with the last 8 spent at Good Hope.
“I was honored to be nominated for the LATM Outstanding Middle School Math Teacher,” Hugghins said. “I’ve been impacted by several amazing teachers and have adapted my style of teaching towards what works best in my classroom environment. What I most enjoy about teaching is preparing students for their future and relating what I teach to real life situations so they can see the value in what they are learning. I love challenging my students and being able to connect with them and their families.”
Ouachita Parish also claimed the top award on the high school level with Lainey Hodge from Sterlington High School named the 2023 LATM Outstanding High School Teacher of the Year. Ms. Hodge has also been in the classroom for 14 years teaching math, with the last five being in Ouachita Parish. She is currently in her second year at Sterlington.
“My experience includes teaching various academic levels of high school courses to students of all backgrounds,” Hodge said. “The thing I enjoy most about teaching is being able to convince struggling students that they CAN do math and encourage them along their own path to mathematical success.”
Ms. Hodge was also recognized as a finalist for the 2023 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, along with Riser Middle School’s Jamie Mosley. The award winners for the Presidential Award will be announced at a later date.
Krissi Allen, Curriculum Coordinator at East Ouachita Middle School, was recognized as a 2022 finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Prior to coming to East Ouachita, Allen taught mathematics at Sterlington Elementary.
Sterlington Middle School teacher Robbie Evans was awarded the 2020 Presidential Award for his excellence as a science teacher. He was also recognized during the two-day LATM event.