MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - 2018 Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert was invited to speak to the Avoyelles Parish Rotary Club Monday and share what she thinks are the most important values to instill in our future leaders.
It was an invitation she was eager to accept because it meant coming home.
Eckert is a Marksville High School alumna and said she didn't see college as an option growing up until her teachers and counselors at the school showed her it was possible.
She was the first in her family to graduate from college and spent time in social work before bringing those skills into the classroom.
Eckert said becoming Louisiana Teacher of the Year seemed like a dream at first, but she's used the platform to help spread the word about teacher recruitment.
During her ride, she also got to travel across the state, visit the White House and even go to Capitol Hill and meet with the Education Policy Advisor.
She said she loves the teacher recognition, but that the year has been so much more.
"I think what I loved more than anything was the ability to have a seat at the table and have my voice heard," Eckert said. "To know that there is nothing really different than anything that I have been saying for ten years, but with State Teacher of the Year, people are listening. I think that the weight of that I have carried, and taken that as the greatest honor of my life to represent students through their teachers."
Eckert is currently an English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge.
The 2019 Teacher of the Year and overall state winners will be announced on July 27 in Baton Rouge.