Two Calcasieu Parish School Board educators have been selected as semi-finalists for the 2021 Teacher and Principal of the Year award. The competition facilitated by the Louisiana Department of Education celebrates the professional achievements of 48 educators across the state.
Randy Yellott, A.M. Barbe High School principal and CPSB Principal of the Year, has been selected to move on the next round of competition. Yellott has a 40 year career in education working as a teacher, coach and principal and is also celebrating his upcoming retirement in two weeks.
"I really believe my years at Barbe have been my best. Being able to be an administrator and having the ability to help a lot of students other than just your classroom, it's a much broader picture of being able to affect the lives and the education of students."
Described as a "pillar in the administrative leadership community" by Robert Pete, CPSB director of high schools, Yellott is a source of a pride for the district. "He has been the principal of what is considered the most diversified school in our parish, maybe in our region, and has ensured the integrity of its academic status. Barbe High remains an "A" school and has been an "A" throughout his time as principal," Pete said.
Jennifer Underwood, Iowa High School teacher, coach and CPSB Teacher of the Year, has also been selected as a statewide semi-finalist.
Underwood has taught chemistry, physics and coached track and cross country for five years.
Upon graduating, she initially set out on a career in health care but felt a call to return to Southwest Louisiana. "I've always had this urge to contribute to my community and my other work took me away from the area," she said.
"Teaching was a way to get back to serving the community in a really huge way. Working with young people has been amazing and hopefully I'll be able to impact them in some meaningful way."
Patrick Fontenot, IHS principal, said Underwood's lessons are an inspiration to her students and fellow faculty members. "She continues to network with teachers, both locally and nationally to increase equity in the science curriculum and develop meaningful lessons in which students gain employable skills to be competitive in the STEM related workplace."
Finalists are expected to be announced at the end of the month.