LEESVILLE, La. (Fort Polk Progress) - The Vernon Parish School Board honored its Principals of the Year for 2018 during its meeting on Thursday in Leesville.
The awardees included Rosepine Elementary School Principal Sandra Blakeway, Evans High School Principal Kathy Bass, and Leesville High School Principal Tamela Phillips.
"The state gives us guidelines on how we select our Principals of the Year, and then they are selected by their peers," said Carolyn Bosely, the VPSB supervisor in charge of the Principal of the Year selection process. "The folks we are honoring today are already working on the application process for the next step in the competition."
Blakeway was selected as Elementary School Principal of the Year. She said the award was a "great honor."
"My family is a family of educators," Blakeway said. "My middle sister was the state High School Teacher of the Year, and I just think that with this honor I'm keeping that tradition alive of excellence in education."
Bass was named Middle School Teacher of the Year, and expressed the pride she feels for her school.
"I love my school so much, so I don't look at it as a job," Bass said. "I just go into work and try to make Evans the best that it can be."
Phillips was chosen as the High School Teacher of the Year and was thankful for the recognition.
"It is a great honor because I was selected by peers, and I enjoy my job -- I love the kids," Phillips said.
As each awardee was presented a plaque for their achievement, Bosely read them a message from their respective assistant principals.
Of Blakeway, Rosepine Elementary School Assistant Principal Gertrud Blady said, "Her qualifications, enthusiasm as a leader, and personal character all make her truly deserving of this title."
Evans High School Assistant Principal Tanya Jeane said that Bass "is a truly deserving recipient of Middle School Principal of the Year."
"She continues to make her students and teachers strive to be the best they can be," Jeane added.
Mark Mawae, Leesville High School assistant principal, said that Phillips "makes decisions based solely on one question, 'What is best for the students of Leesville High School?'"
"At all times, her first priority is the students of Leesville High School," Mawae said. "We have a saying at Leesville High School, 'Once a Wampus Cat, always a Wampus Cat,' and we are so proud that she is the Wampus Cat that leads the rest of us."
Vernon Parish School Board Member and Fort Polk Garrison Commander Col. Jarrett A. Thomas II congratulated the Principals of the Year.
"It's always great to recognize excellence, and it serves to inspire others down the road," Thomas said.
"We are grateful to the honorees for exhibiting key leadership qualities and going above and beyond to ensure that the students in their schools achieve academic success," said Michael Reese, President of Fort Polk Progress, which spearheads the Education Initiative alongside Vernon Parish Schools, the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, and the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce and community stakeholders.
VPSB Superintendent James Williams expressed his appreciation to the Principals of the Year for their efforts at their schools.
"Being a principal is a tough job. There's so much going on -- so much accountability and responsibility," Williams said. "We're very fortunate to have the principals that we do, especially the ones that we recognized today."