Top honor for Grand Lake’s Castille

<div class="Content"><p class="indent">Grand Lake High School Principal Holly Castille has been named Louisiana Middle School Principal of the Year. Castille, who holds a doctorate of educational leadership and has been an administrator for four years, said it’s neither her education nor experience, completely, that qualified her to be considered for the award.</p><p class="indent">“I think it’s our school, teachers and faculty — our community. All of those things make us successful. I’m just lucky enough to be in a place where I get to experience all of those things together.”</p><p class="indent">Grand Lake High School, a pre-K through 12th-grade campus in Cameron Parish, is home to 820 students, many of whom stay at the school their whole educational journey.</p><p class="indent">“I see them from the time they’re 4 years old,” she said. “There’s a true relationship and bond there.”</p><p class="indent">Castille said placing a high value on relationships is especially important to the success of a school and it played a role in her selection for the award.</p><p class="indent">Data was used as criteria for consideration in the application process and the school’s “A” performance score is indicative of the hard work everyone at Grand Lake has had to put in, Castille said.</p><p class="indent">“Each year we have made gains. We’re trying to provide, improve and offer as much as the kids in a larger district have access to.”</p><p class="indent">Castille said recognizing everyone’s strengths is vital to continual strides.</p><p class="indent">“Being a pre-K-to-a-12th- grade school, it’s hard for administration to be experts in every area. So, we try to give those opportunities to our teachers. We believe they’re the experts not us.”</p><p class="indent">Grand Lake’s staff values interdependence among its faculty and also among the other schools in Cameron Parish to stay up to date on district and statewide trends.</p><p class="indent">“You have to rely on your people. You have to give them the autonomy to be the teachers and be the professionals that they are. That’s what makes us successful. We can’t do it without them.”</p><p class="indent">As part of her award, Castille will be involved in several state-wide speaking engagements where she will discuss her passion for increased educational training for working with students on the autism spectrum.</p><p class="indent">Castille said her son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s.</p><p class="indent">“That hit me on a personal level but helped me to evolve into the principal that I am today,” she said.</p><p class="indent">Castile cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying one in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.</p><p class="indent">“We’re seeing a great deal because we’re getting them so young. We need more training to provide them with the best opportunities to be successful,” she said. “Everyone who comes in contact with our children needs more in-depth training.”</p></div>””CastilleSpecial to the American Press

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