The Vernon Parish School Board recognized its Teachers of the Year for the 2019 – 2020 school year during their January 9th regular meeting.
Those recognized are Jessica Deon from Rosepine Elementary as Elementary Teacher of the Year, Sabri Gomez from Rosepine High School as Middle School Teacher of the Year, and Rhonda Hampton from Simpson High School as High School Teacher of the Year.
Teachers of the Year are first selected by their peers at the school level, and then are chosen on the district level based on the following criteria: "They should demonstrate excellence in their field, guide students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence, demonstrate a positive impact on student achievement, and demonstrate leadership among their peers." The state will select semi-finalists for the Teacher of the Year award in the spring.
Jessica Deon, an educator with 15 years of experience, currently teaches science and social studies to fifth graders at Rosepine. When asked about how she came to become an educator, Deon shared it was hard to answer because it was something she’d always been drawn to. “I have always been intrinsically motivated to teach students. I truly never wavered from entering the profession, even as a little girl” she stated. As a child of a Navy retiree, Deon has also always aspired to educate within the military community with the idea that her childhood experiences provided her a unique perspective to aid military-connected students.
Sabri Gomez teaches English language arts to eighth graders at Rosepine High School. With 8 years of education experience, Gomez shared that teaching others has always been her passion and so has literature. “Books have always been an escape for me and opened doors to others and their worlds that I would never been able to experience otherwise.” She continued, “Being able to help a student open that ‘door’ and realize there is more to life than what they are facing at home or in their personal lives is my mission.”
Rhonda Hampton has worked in education for 23 years, with 22 years of her time at Simpson. Hampton teaches science at the high school level. She became an educator because she wants to share her love of learning, especially in the science realm, and “spark” her students to “chase after their dreams of scientific careers.” When looking back at her decision to become an educator, Hampton shared that she had someone specific to thank for the push. “Dr. Bill Seibert, a Southwestern Oklahoma University Botany professor, modeled the art of teaching… he was my primary inspiration to become an educator.”
When asked about the Teachers of the Year recipients, Mike Reese, Fort Polk Progress Chairman, had the following to say: “Our community is incredibly lucky to have such a diverse array of committed teachers educating our students. Each of these recipients reflects Vernon Parish’s dedication to providing quality education to our youth every single day.”