Kim Walker, Jeremy DiBenedetto and Chris Magliolo's Letter to the Editor on the Education Session
Each month, the current class of Leadership Tangipahoa enjoys visiting a themed group of businesses and organizations in our community. Recently, our class had the pleasure of learning more about the educational opportunities in our Tangipahoa Parish community. The day was not limited to only public elementary education but ranged from public to private and from early childhood into the university level.
While many will and have expressed concerns of our educational system, this month our visit left us with a feeling of hope and promise not only for today's children and adults but of our future.
Our group visited Courtney Christian School and left with an overwhelming positive feeling after seeing children engaged in learning that extended well beyond the typical curriculum but also addressed leadership, character building and history from a unique perspective. From there, we visited Hammond Westside Montessori Magnet school where children were learning in creative, strategic environments. Seeing our public school system tapping into learning on a different level was refreshing. Later in the day, we were able to visit the Parent Resource Center for Tangipahoa Parish Schools which is located on Railroad Avenue in Hammond. The "south end" office for the school system is setup to proudly support parents on any level. The resource center is a true gem and open to all Tangi parents. Superintendent Melissa Stilley addressed our group with an update on the desegregation case, the future of our school system, and their active plans for recruiting and retaining quality teachers.
For so long, the focus has been on encouraging children to attend college and now we are experiencing a huge shortage in our trades. The need for quality mechanics, HVAC, welding and other professionals is far-reaching and an urgent need for many industries. Tangipahoa Parish has incredible program options available at Northshore Technical Community College to ensure job-readiness, success and community partnerships where companies are able to work with the college to share their needs allowing NTCC to create programs which allow individuals to complete a program setting them up for a successful, high-wage earning career.
Finally, our day could not be complete without a visit to our hometown university, Southeastern Louisiana University. Many fail to remember how fortunate we are to have a university in our own parish. What others boast about being near - is ours! Southeastern is a gem for our community. The growth of SLU over the years in beautification, programs, professors and infrastructure is certainly giving us all the Lion Pride we can handle!
When it comes to education, and Tangipahoa Parish - our future is bright. Sure, we have things we can improve upon, but we've come a long way, baby! We hope you'll join us in focusing on the positives and doing all we can, together, to continue to move our parish forward.
K im Walker, Jeremy DiBenedetto, and Chris Magliolo
im Walker, Jeremy DiBenedetto, and Chris Magliolo
With a passion to connect, teach and serve, Kim Walker enjoys living her life purpose while owning 5 Stones with her husband, Brian. She is a Tangipahoa Parish native who earned her education at Southeastern Louisiana University. Since then she has been a teacher, school counselor and owner of multiple businesses. They are blessed with one child, Payton, who is a junior in high school and recently joined the Army National Guard.
Jeremy DiBenedetto is a Captain with the Hammond Fire Department. He has been an employee of the City of Hammond for 15 years. A native of Tangipahoa parish, he resides with his wife Courtney, and his two daughters Ava and Anniston. He is very active in his community, where he owns two restaurants, and is the Chairman of The Tickfaw Italian Festival. He is proud to call Tangipahoa home!
Chris Magliolo is a lifelong resident of the Northshore and graduate of Louisiana State University. After serving on active duty for nine years in the US Marine Corps, he returned home. He and his wife, Sarah, are the proud parents of three sons and one daughter. He is a financial professional and holds his Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. He has continued to serve as a Marine Reservist since 2013.