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KimberlyEckert
Kimberly Eckert is an educator at Brusly High School.
NSU grad named Louisiana Teacher of the Year
Honoree holds bachelor's and master's degrees from NSU
Leah Jackson
08/10/2017

NATCHITOCHES – Kimberly Eckert, an English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge Parish, was named Louisiana’s Teacher of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education. Eckert and other outstanding Louisiana educators were honored during the 11th annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala on July 28.

 Eckert earned a bachelor of social work degree from Northwestern State University, completed her teacher preparation program through LRCE and earned a master’s degree in special education at NSU. She is currently two courses short of a second master’s in curriculum and instruction with a reading focus from NSU. 

Eckert has been teaching in West Baton Rouge Parish for nine years. In addition to teaching English I, she has also served as a special education inclusion teacher, a reading interventionist, speech teacher, mentor and master teacher as well as an instructional coach.

“While I currently work as an English I/speech teacher, I have held exclusively each of those roles over the years and no doubt will again at some point, based on the needs of my district.  I would say that my experience as a special education inclusion teacher is most directly related to my success in the classroom now because at the end of the day, tailoring instruction to the individual needs of my students is at the heart of what I do each day even though the number of students went from about 12-15 a year to 125 a year,” she said.  “What's most rewarding about working with students every day, in any capacity, is that I get to see the direct impact of our effort together daily.  My students work so hard for me, and it makes me want to work twice as hard for them.  Over the course of the year, it's a beautiful thing to see them surpassing my goals then setting their own and surpassing those too.”

Eckert said her work in supporting teachers stems back to her work as an inclusion teacher as well.

“Ultimately, I'm at my best when I'm supporting and amplifying the work of those around me.  I became so comfortable co-teaching with and learning from my peers as their inclusion teacher, that it was an effortless transition to again work beside them in a coaching role.  I love a good team, in and out of the classroom, so my time working with teachers, especially new ones, was just as exciting and inspiring as my time with students,” she said.  

Last year, Eckert was named the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) Teacher of the Year for high schools, an award she previously won for middle schools. In 2013, Eckert was selected as the West Baton Rouge Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year for work as a special education teacher. She has been awarded several grants to further educational initiatives, is a Kagan Scholarship winner, a Discovery Star Educator and has had student work showcased on local TV stations in Baton Rouge.

Eckert has presented at local and state conferences and has had work featured in LACUE publications on integrating technology for struggling learners in a flipped classroom.

“Kimberly was a joy to teach and collaborate with on class discussions, assignments, field experiences and projects,” said. Dr. Barb Duchardt, a professor of special education at NSU and Eckert’s advisor as she completed her masters’ degree. Eckert’s research was conducted on 80 junior high students ranging in age from 12-16 who were enrolled in reading intervention classes at Port Allen Middle School. She evaluated their reading comprehension results using the Reading CLOZE strategy procedure collecting pre-and posttest data, Duchardt said.

“Kimberly is a life-long learner. She was proactive in her active class participation and she always went above and beyond the course requirements. She was excited about teaching students with exceptional learning needs, and I am so happy for her 2017 Teacher of the Year recognition. It is well-deserved,” Duchardt said.

“I can't speak highly enough of the attentions and relationship I had with my advisers,” Eckert said.  “I really felt like they provided special attention and invaluable feedback on every single discussion I participated in and every body of work I submitted.  I also can't say enough about the classmates I collaborated with and shared in discussion with course after course.  I feel like the program attracted really passionate teachers and it was a great experience to share with them all.” 

Eckert is the second educator with degrees from NSU that has been named Louisiana Teacher of the Year. April Giddens, who this year joined NSU’s faculty, was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year.