GONZALES — The teacher of the year award Agnes Pizzolato received last week from area Knight of Columbus chapters was not the first honor she received from the group for her years of teaching at a Donaldsonville Catholic school, but it will be her last.
Pizzolato, a sixth-grade teacher at Ascension Catholic Diocesan Regional Elementary School, announced her retirement as she accepted the Parochial Middle School Teacher of the Year award at the 37th annual Teachers Appreciation Banquet in Gonzales on April 25
Pizzolato was one of six teachers to win the overall honors and one of 33 public and parochial school teachers recognized for their dedication to education, Knight of Columbus Council 8147 Financial Secretary Keith Gautreau said. The event was hosted by the St. Theresa Knights of Columbus Council 2657, Father Clement Council 6389, St. Mark Council 8147, St. John Council 8342 and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Council 13145.
Gautreau, the host for the evening, praised the teachers for their commitment to their profession.
Sheriff Jeff Wiley, the guest speaker at the event, said he was “a little intimidated” by the quality and number of veteran teachers attending the event.
Wiley, whose daughter Sara Recile is a teacher, said he was influenced by several teachers while attending public schools in Texas and Ascension Parish.
He credited one of his former teachers, Ruth Taylor, with “instilling an appetite for education.”
Wiley had planned to be a coach and teacher, but changed his plans after college graduation and went into law enforcement.
Educators, he said, provide valuable tools needed to be successful in life, including “education and hope.”
“You’re a very special group of people,” he said.
Wiley and Parish President Tommy Martinez presented each teacher with a rose and certificate.
Receiving the overall parish awards from the Knights of Columbus were public school teachers Nicole Toncrey, Duplessis Primary, primary school teacher of the year; Rebecca Templet, St. Amant Middle, the middle school honoree; and Maria Babin, St. Amant High, high school teacher of the year.
In addition to Pizzolato, winning parochial school honors were Maura Shea, and Gayle Nizzo, both teachers at Ascension Catholic Diocesan Regional School.
Honored as school-level winners were:
- Tennille Lange, Ascension Parish Alternative School
- Tasha Jackson, Carver Primary
- Wendy Smith, Central Middle
- Erin Redmond, Central Primary
- Dora Lunkin, Donaldsonville Primary
- Brian Richardson, Donaldsonville High
- Patrick Ricks, Dutchtown High
- Yvette Surla, Dutchtown Middle
- Catherine Dean, Dutchtown Primary
- Eric Brownfield, East Ascension High
- Kim Wheat, Galvez Middle
- Kristin Bertucci, Galvez Primary
- Juanita Favorite, Gonzales Middle
- Dena Toncrey, Gonzales Primary
- Ellyn Braud, Lake Elementary
- Britney Allen, Lake Elementary
- Donna Davis, Lakeside Elementary
- Jessica Cassard, Lowery Elementary
- Ebony Mott Gilbeaux, Lowery Intermediate
- Toni Jones, Oak Grove Primary
- Courtney Dumas, Pecan Grove Primary
- William Barbay, Prairieville Middle
- Kami Broussard, Prairieville Primary
- Michelle Troxclair, Spanish Lake Primary
- Christopher Richard, St. Amant Primary
- Rochelle San Souci, St. John Primary
- Penny Saucier, St. Theresa