2023-2024 Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year Announced
Three teachers and three principals have been selected as the 2023-2024 St. Tammany Parish Public School System Teachers and Principals of the Year.
Named as 2023-2024 District Teachers of the Year are Kellee McClain from Florida Avenue Elementary, Brandon Duplantis from Clearwood Junior High, and Megan Treigle from Lakeshore High.
The 2023-2024 Principals of the Year are Misty Hebbler from Covington Elementary, Nicolle Balser from Lake Harbor Middle, and Bill Gallagher from Northshore High.
“These teachers and principals are making an impact on our students, schools, and communities,” said Superintendent Frank Jabbia. “They represent our entire school system and I am so proud of them.”
Kellee McClain also has been selected as a semi-finalist in the 2024 Louisiana Teacher of the Year program held by the Louisiana Department of Education, which honors the most exceptional teachers from school systems across the state. She is among 24 teachers selected to continue in the competition for Louisiana Teacher of the Year.
Teachers and Principals of the Year are selected based on their success with students and, for principals, their work to support teachers. Each year, one teacher and one principal at each level – elementary, middle/junior high, and high school – are selected as the district level winners and move on to compete in the state competition.
Kellee McClain, the Elementary Division Teacher of the Year, is currently in her 14th year of teaching and has taught kindergarten, first grade, and now second grade. She has served as a Mentor Teacher and a Grade Level Chair. Ms. McClain initially had dreams of becoming a pediatrician but changed her mind while taking parenting classes during her senior year of high school. She became fascinated with how children’s brains develop and decided to throw her passion into education. She received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree from Northwestern State University.
Brandon Duplantis, the Middle/Junior High Division Teacher of the Year, is currently in his 7th year of teaching and has been at Clearwood Junior High since 2018 as a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher. He sponsors the school’s Board Game Club and Writing Club and makes sure his students always have a little bit of fun during the school day. He previously served as a Students with Exceptionalities Resource and Inclusion teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Duplantis received a Master of Arts History degree from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Megan Treigle, the High School Division Teacher of the Year, teaches honors geometry to ninth and tenth graders and algebra II to eleventh graders at Lakeshore High School. With 18 years of teaching experience, she serves as the head cheerleading coach and assistant softball coach at the school. She has led Lakeshore’s cheerleading competition team to multiple regional titles and a top-five national finish at last year’s National Cheerleaders Association National Championships. She also leads Lakeshore’s chapter of Mu Alpha Theta and has served on the Louisiana State Mu Alpha Theta Board. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Louisiana Tech University.
Misty Hebbler, the Elementary Division Principal of the Year, has been the principal of Covington Elementary for two years after previously serving as the Assistant Principal and Technology Resource Teacher at the school. She implemented Morning Meetings at her school to create opportunities for students to have their voices heard, build communication skills, and feel part of a class family. Under her leadership, the school performance score increased by more than 10 points in just the first year. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1999 and returned to earn her master’s degree in educational leadership in 2012.
Nicolle Balser, the Middle/Junior High Division Principal of the Year, is presently in her 28th year as a public school educator. She was named principal at Lake Harbor Middle School in 2019 after serving as the assistant principal for eight years. The quote that guides her work is, “We must Maslow before we Bloom,” meaning a student's basic needs must be met before the education process can begin. She has used this philosophy to grow her school culture and improve school performance scores since the start of the pandemic. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1995 from the University of New Orleans and her Master of Education in 2008 from Southeastern University. She was National Board Certified in 2007 and served as a Teacher Leader the same year.
William Gallagher, the High School Division Principal of the Year, was named Northshore High’s principal in 2020 after previously serving as assistant principal for two years. He works relentlessly to promote inclusion, openness and collaboration throughout his school resulting in a positive and nurturing culture at Northshore High that provides an opportunity for all learners to succeed. Gallagher is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Addie’s Angels, Inc., which assists individuals with limb differences. He received a Bachelor of Science in Human Performance and Health Promotion from the University of New Orleans in 2002 followed by a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree from Lamar University in 2016.