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St. Bernard Parish Public School System Announces District-wide Teachers of the Year


Media Contact: Alexis Pritchard

Date: 11/18/2022

Phone: (504) 301-2000


St. Bernard Parish Public School System Announces District-wide Teachers of the Year

Chalmette, LA - Three outstanding educators were recently named district-wide Teachers of the Year in St. Bernard Parish. Michelle Ingraffia, Will Lancaster, and David Bellard were chosen by a panel of judges to represent the district in the upcoming regional competition for Louisiana Teacher of the Year. 

Michelle Ingraffia, the Elementary District-wide Teacher of the Year, teaches second grade at Arabi Elementary School. A 29-year veteran, Ingraffia believes all students can achieve excellence but only if they feel safe, welcomed, and valued for their unique abilities. 

“My number one focus, in order to foster this positive climate, is to form relationships with my students and their caregivers,” she said. 

Will Lancaster, the Middle School District-wide Teacher of the Year, has been working at St. Bernard Middle School for the last six years, serving in a number of roles. Currently, he serves as the behavioral resource teacher, and like Ingraffia, believes relationship building is critical to academic success. 

“A student will work hard for themselves in the classroom once they feel safe, comfortable, and cared for by the teachers in the room,” he said. “However, this will only begin to happen if there is a genuine relationship that is built between the teacher and student.”

The High School District-wide Teacher of the Year, David Bellard, teaches English at Chalmette High School and said fostering student engagement is critical to classroom success. 

“We do not teach subject matter,” he said. “We teach humans. No matter where they are coming from, or what life challenges they are experiencing, if we provide them with the rigor, they will rise to the challenge. If we provide them with a loving and nurturing environment that values their input and voice, they will create a growing, learning community.” 

Superintendent Doris Voitier said all twelve of the teachers of the year share similar values. 

“Each of these outstanding educators is committed to developing the whole child,” Voitier said. “While each is an expert in their subject matter, equally important is their ability to connect, nurture, and inspire their students. As a district, we are blessed to have such committed teachers in our classrooms.”

School Board President Clifford Englande cited the success that many of the teachers in St. Bernard have had at the state level in past competitions and said that this year’s three parish-wide winners will represent the district well. 

“Michelle, Will, and David are passionate, compassionate, and articulate and exhibit all of the qualities that we value in our classroom and in our school family. As Thanksgiving approaches, the Board offers them our congratulations and gratitude for their efforts.” 

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