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OP-ED: Showcasing WO-S Elementary teacher

Dr. Rickie R. Harris
West Orange – Cove CISD Superintendent

Ben Johnson once said, “Great teachers engineer learning experiences that put students in the driver’s seat and then get out of the way.” As an example, I would like to showcase three outstanding team members at West Orange-Stark Elementary School. These team members go above and beyond to support our students daily!

Mrs. Sonya Barks is a first-grade teacher and encourages her students to meet and exceed individual learning goals throughout the school year. Mrs. Barks utilizes effective reading strategies to improve student achievement by embracing our learning goals and initiatives from year to year! She has twenty-nine years of teaching experience and taught in Louisiana for twenty-one of those years. After retiring, she began teaching in Texas. She has served our students at West Orange-Stark Elementary School for four years. Mrs. Barks earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from McNeese State University. Furthermore, she is married to Mr. Randy Barks with two children and one grandson. She loves the following quote: “Always remember you are braver than you think, stronger than you seem, and loved more than you know.”

Mrs. Kandi Jolivette serves as a second-grade teacher and provides meaningful and engaging activities for her students by creating a warm and inviting learning atmosphere. She has taught for twenty years in both Louisiana and Texas. Mrs. Jolivette received her Bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University and a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. She is married to Mr. Nicholas Jolivette, and they are the proud parents of two amazing sons. Also, Mrs. Jolivette supports the following quote from her mother: “Failure is not and never will be an option.”

Mrs. Barbara Polk is a paraprofessional in our Positive Approach to Student Success (PASS) program. Mrs. Polk uses loving and nurturing strategies to curtail off-task behaviors. She utilizes various methods to motivate students during the instructional day and provides meaningful activities to support struggling students with different concepts. She is a graduate of West Orange-Stark High School and has worked on multiple campuses as a paraprofessional and a substitute teacher. She is married to Mr. Carl Polk, and they have two successful daughters and four beautiful grandchildren. Mrs. Polk enjoys reading the following verse: Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

In summary, these team members are the driving forces for improving student achievement at West Orange-Stark Elementary School. They are highly dedicated and committed to cultivating the next future leaders! This once again illustrates John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.