Dec 12, 2013 5:24 PM by Steven Albritton

LEF Surprises Teachers, Names 16 Teacher Of The Year Finalists

The Lafayette Education Foundation has named its finalists for teacher of the year and our cameras were there to catch the surprise announcements.

Cheers, tears and total shock filled the classrooms of the teachers who had no idea what was heading their way.

"I'm honored to even have been nominated and to be this part, I'm humbled actually, very humbled," Lafayette Christian Academy 3rd grade teacher Amy Ruddock said.

W. D & Mary Baker Smith Career Center Cosmetology teacher Kevin Smith was surprised and caught off guard by what was going on.

"I really thought that y'all were visitors coming in from another school to just take a look at the program because there's constantly visitors coming in and out. I have no idea. I'm still just in shock," Smith said.

For these finalists, they say it's the students who enrich their lives and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"My children motivate me. And for them to say thank you in this way is very, very special," 7th grade Youngsville Middle School math teacher Josie Abington said.

"I teach these wonderful kids everyday and I couldn't ask for a better job. No way I'd trade this for a cubicle and $200,000 a year," Comeaux High School English teacher Matt Canone said.

For at least one of the finalists, this award is the crowning touch for the end of her career. Paul Breaux Middle School science teacher Annette Chapman has taught for 35 years and is retiring at the end of this school year.

"I love touching their lives and they touch mine in so many ways. This last year is difficult in some ways because it's a bittersweet feeling because I know this is my last time with them. It's been such a wonderful experience for 35 years now. And thank you. The students, I have fabulous memories of all of them, and this is just icing on the cake." Chapman said. 

Here are all 16 finalists! Congrats!

Elementary School Category
JoLynn Dean - J. Wallace James Elementary - 2nd Grade
Lynn McElroy - Woodvale Elementary - 2nd Grade
Jessica Mouton - Evangeline Elementary - Librarian
Lindsay Nardini - Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School - 3rd Grade

Middle School Category
Josie Abington - Youngsville Middle - 7th Grade Math
Annette Chapman - Paul Breaux Middle - 7th Grade Science
Michelle Lakhotia - Judice Middle - 7th Grade Math
Victoria Landry - L.J. Alleman Middle - 5th-8th Grade Choir

High School Category
Kirk Baudoin - Lafayette High - 10th-11th Grade Health Sciences
Sandra Broussard - Comeaux High - Speech & Debate
Matthew Canone - Comeaux High - 11th Grade English
Kevin Martin - W.D. Smith Career Center - Cosmetology

Inspirational Category
Rachel Allen Gaspard - Paul Breaux Middle - Special Education
Catherine Harper - Judice Middle - 7th Grade English & Language Arts
Lisette Henderson - Comeaux High - Spanish & REAL Program
Amy Ruddock - Lafayette Christian Academy - 3rd Grade

They will all be honored at the Heymann Center on January 23rd at 7:30 p.m. 


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