Mother and daughters are teachers of distinction

One St. Tammany family is blessed with three educators of distinction.

Two have received nominations for Teacher of the Year and the other is District Teacher of the Year for 2013-14 Laura Gerald, of St. Tammany Junior High School.

Gerald’s mother, Jenny Granier, of Abita Springs, has been teaching for 21 years in St. Tammany Parish. She is a fourth-grade teacher at Tchefuncte Middle School in Mandeville.

“I have four daughters, and two of them have chosen to be educators, as well. My daughter Rachel Granier Brown lives in Lafayette and teaches at Lafayette High School. My daughter Laura Granier Gerald teaches at St. Tammany Junior High School in Slidell,” Jenny Granier said.

It’s quite an honor when one of your children is honored within her profession. But imagine two of your children with that distinction. “Imagine my pride and excitement when it was announced that both of my daughters were nominated for Teacher of the Year,” Granier said.

Laura Gerald graduated from Fontainebleau High School in 1997 and received her Bachelor of Science in English Education from Utah State University. She worked at the St. Tammany Parish Library for five years before becoming a teacher, and taught in Washington Parish before beginning her work as an eighth-grade English and reading teacher.

“I was so honored to be selected as Teacher of the Year for the middle and junior high level for St. Tammany Parish. This is my first year teaching in my hometown parish, and I’m blessed to love what I do,” she said.

Rachel Brown has been teaching for 9 years, all in Lafayette Parish schools. She started as an educational sign language interpreter at age 20, and became a teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at age 21. She has four degrees, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts from UL-Lafayette, a Bachelor of Science in Education from UL-Lafayette, a Master of Education from University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Capella University.

“I currently teach ninth- to 12th-grade deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the largest high school in Louisiana. I organize events for schools and within the community to raise awareness about deaf culture and to encourage deaf and hearing students to intermingle and learn from each other,” Brown said.

“Ironically, I learned American Sign Language at age 12 with my sister to be able to tell secrets at the dinner table. Now, both my boys speak French to each other and I have to go relearn my high school French so that I can understand what they are saying.”

In addition to having two daughters who have followed in her footsteps as teachers, Jenny Granier also has been nominated for Teacher of the Year in the past. She is National Board certified and known for her dedication and enthusiasm for education that is an inspiration for her daughters and other educators in the district, as well.