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CONTACT: Jackie Tisdell, 225-210-7567

Shaneka Burnett to be recognized at White House event for "great educators across the country"

Gonzales, La. – Duplessis Primary School master teacher Shaneka Burnett will travel to Washington, D.C. to attend a May 3, 2016, event at the White House recognizing the National Teacher of the Year, State Teachers of the Year and "great educators across the country". Burnett was recommended for this honor by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).

"I am honored and feel privileged to meet other great educators from across the nation," said Burnett. "This event will afford me the opportunity to network with exceptional teachers and learn the strategies that have been implemented to help their students grow."

This is not the first time Burnett has been recognized at the national level. While working as a TAP mentor teacher at Lowery Intermediate (now Lowery Middle), NIET sent a professional film crew to videotape one of her teaching lessons. That video has been used nationally throughout NIET's System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP) network to train TAP evaluators and educators.

Burnett has also been featured in the Education Trust publication, Building and Sustaining Teacher Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning.

"We are delighted that a number of teachers from districts implementing the TAP System are participating in the White House teacher recognition event this year.  Shaneka Burnett is a great example of a TAP master teacher who has excelled in her work in Ascension Parish with students and colleagues, but has also played a role nationally in promoting the teaching profession and highlighting the importance of strong classroom instruction for student achievement.  She is part of a team in Ascension Parish that has been recognized nationally for their outstanding results with all students, and particularly those with the highest barriers to learning," said NIET Senior Vice President for Policy Kristan Van Hook. 

Burnett began her career in Ascension Parish in 2006 teaching math at Lowery Intermediate for one year before serving five years as a TAP mentor teacher at that school. In 2012, she moved to Prairieville Primary to teach fifth grade. In 2014, she became the instructional coach at Duplessis Primary and is in her first year as a TAP master teacher.

According to Burnett, the goal of a master teacher is to improve student achievement and help teachers strengthen their instructional practices. Along with fellow Duplessis Primary master teacher Caryn Vincent, she conducts weekly cluster meetings to present new learning based on the identified student needs and helps teachers analyze the quality of work for each student.

"We test out new learning strategies so that they are proven to positively impact student learning before a teacher implements them in a classroom. Then, we either team teach or observe and provide feedback to ensure the strategy is effective," said Burnett.

The TAP system promotes a three-tiered approach to instructional support: master teachers, mentor teachers, and career teachers. According to NIET, research shows that the most important school-related factor in student achievement is having a high-quality teacher in the classroom. TAP helps educators focus on academics and better teaching techniques that support the school's instructional program — state academic standards, curriculum and testing.

"I am grateful for the opportunities Ascension Public Schools, TAP and NIET have provided for me to grow professionally. That support is the reason I have been awarded this honor," she said.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Burnett earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Dillard University and master's degree in Elementary Education from Southern University. She is married to Joel Burnett and has three children.

For more information about NIET and the TAP system visit

A. Denise Graves

Patricia Russo

Board President

Taft Kleinpeter
Board Vice President

Robyn Penn Delaney

Scott Duplechein
Julie Blouin
Kerry Diez
John Murphy
Shawn Sevario
Louis Lambert
Troy Gautreau, Sr.
Lorraine Wimberly
ABOUT ASCENSION PUBLIC SCHOOLS: The Ascension Public Schools system is the largest employer in the parish with over 2,800 employees that support 22,000 students in 27 schools.  An A-rated school district since 2011-12, school performance has grown by 69% over the past four years and currently ranks fourth in Louisiana.
  • Dutchtown Middle student Hiba Hasan is the 2016 Louisiana Middle School Student of the Year
  • Spanish Lake Primary Principal Britton Colon is a semifinalist for 2017 Louisiana Principal of the Year
  • Dutchtown High teacher Brenden Simoneaux won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
  • St. Amant High School teacher Danielle Delaune was a semifinalist for 2016 Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year
  • Former Superintendent Patrice Pujol was named 2015 Louisiana Superintendent of the Year and one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year

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Ascension Public Schools · 1100 Webster Street · Donaldsonville, LA 70346 · USA

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