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Angela Kennedy, 2019 Educator of the Year, with scholars

BellXcel Names Educator of the Year

BellXcel is pleased to announce that Angela Kennedy, Site Manager, at Louisiana 4-H LSU AgCenter, in Angie, Louisiana, is this year’s Tiffany Cooper Gueye Educator of the Year. BellXcel CEO Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D., presented Kennedy with the award on Wednesday, March 27 at Wesley Ray Elementary, where she also serves as the school’s faculty coordinator. Kennedy was chosen out of approximately 2,100 educators from across the country, and in honor of her recognition, the school has also received 100 books donated by Scholastic.

The Tiffany Cooper Gueye Educator of the Year award, in honor of BellXcel’s former CEO, recognizes an educator who best exemplifies BellXcel’s core values of Excellence, Learning, Respect, Courage and Collaboration. 

At the surprise celebration in front of Wesley Ray Elementary students, her peers, her husband Greg, and grandson Cooper Rogers, who is a Pre-K student at Wesley Ray, she also received $1,500 for her dedication to the program.

“Having a program that the students can come to, and actually have fun learning, just means the world to us and to the parents,” Kennedy said. “This program has created so much growth in our students. Not only in preventing the summer slide, but also in their academics. Learning the core values has also helped establish confidence within themselves and I have seen it carry on through to the next school year.”

Last summer, BellXcel and Louisiana 4-H – LSU AgCenter, combined resources and expertise to deliver an evidence-based summer learning program to 45 rising second, third, fourth, and fifth-grade students from Angie, and the surrounding rural area. Hosted at Wesley Ray Elementary School, and offered at no cost to families, the program helped enrolled students, known as scholars, to strengthen the foundational reading and math skills, self-confidence, and resilience they need to advance to the next grade and excel in school and beyond.

“When I visited the site, the thing that most impressed me was seeing how Angela teaches children to work together on their projects,” said Darrell Fairburn, Superintendent, Washington Parish School Board. “I hope we can expand the program to involve more children. We have high-poverty and it’s extremely important for children not to lose those academic skills over the summer.”

“Her love for students is infectious,” says Beth Putnam of 4-H – LSU AgCenter. She wants nothing but the best for these kids, because she knows the importance of that extra caring person, that person that is going to push them a little bit harder or hold them a little bit more accountable.”

Angela’s colleagues spoke of her ability to instill important values throughout the summer program experience. “Angela took what she learned about growth mindset and used these principles during the summer and throughout the school year—telling scholars that they can do anything they put their minds to and sharing her own personal stories to illustrate this,” said one colleague. “She has a can-do attitude and love for scholars that is evident in everything she does every day! She is a teacher in every sense of the word—with her scholars, with her families, and with her teammates.”

Everyone from Wesley Ray Elementary School, the Louisiana 4-H – LSU AgCenter, and the team at BellXcel is proud of you Angela. We thank you for the example you set, and the life-changing work that you do.