Watson Recognized as 2019 Parish Teacher of the Year

English teacher Kalita Watson

Photo Courtesy of Petry Photography

English teacher Kalita Watson

Dakota Forrest, Staff Writer

English I/IV teacher Kalita Watson was named the 2019 Acadia Parish High School Teacher of the Year in the fall.

  She has been teaching for 10 years, the last eight at Crowley High.

Watson found out she won at the ceremony to recognize all of the school Teachers of the Year.  “I realized I had won after opening the program and my photo along with my bio was printed in the program. (I was) totally shocked.”  

Watson recalled her immediate reaction.  “‘Oh God, do I have to speak?!”’ She quickly looked at the program and realized she would have to speak, but she decided to just ‘“go with the flow.’”  

Watson elaborated on what she meant.  “I try not to overreact or stress myself because it wreaks havoc on the body and your mental state.  Things will be regardless,” she stated, and this is why I have adapted to enjoy the present moment for what it is.” 

According to Watson, Principal Timothy Boudreaux and Supervisor of Middle Education, Secondary Schools, and Athletics Perry Myles have most recently contributed to her growth as an educator.  Myles was principal in 2016 while Boudreaux was assistant principal. “They decided to make some changes and those changes included me, she explained. 

Boudreaux and Myles wanted her to go from teaching English II and English I to teaching English IV (honors and level) and English I (honors only).  “I did not like the change for several reasons, however, it is in uncomfortable, unwanted situations in which we are challenged that we see the most growth.”  

During this time Watson doubted her effectiveness as an educator.  “In hindsight, I had to thank both Mr. Myles and Mr. Boudreaux for placing me in a situation that created room for growth.”

Senior Marquis Garrett, who is in Watson’s 2nd hour English IV class, spoke about what makes her a good teacher.  “She’s very patient, and she always goes back to help if she teaches too fast. She will never leave anyone behind.”  

Garrett also mentioned that Watson was the person who helped him figure out what he wanted to study in college.  “There’s nothing you can’t talk about to her about,” he said. “She always puts others before herself and would give her last for them to have.”

Senior Katie Sarver, who is in Watson’s 4th period English IV class, also had high praise for her teacher and admitted that she looks forward to her class everyday.  “Ms. Watson has helped me improve my writing and my English skills overall,” mentioned Sarver. “She truly cares about her students and teaches from the heart. She helps you but also encourages you to do your best.“Having Ms. Watson as a teacher has been a joy for me,” added Sarver.  “Her class is one of my favorite classes. I’d like to thank her for all she has done in teaching me. Crowley High is lucky to have such a great teacher (and) a wonderful person.”

Watson is originally from California, but she now lives in Soileau with her family.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in English from California State University of Sacramento, then went on to get her Master’s in multicultural education.

Before Watson started teaching, she worked as a bank teller and substitute teacher for six years while she attended college.

What makes a good teacher?  A good teacher must be “firm and consistent, yet understanding.”  She added, “A good teacher must also know how to communicate with his or her students.”  

Watson aims to make a positive impact on the lives of her students.  “If I didn’t make a difference in some shape or form, I did not do my job as an educator.”  

The ultimate goal is, “Simply seeing students succeed in life,” she said.