Tangipahoa Parish School System hosts Governor John Bel Edwards and community for Star Academy Ribbon Cutting Celebration


Tangipahoa Parish School System and NOLA Education proudly hosted community members as well as local and state dignitaries, with special guests Governor John Bel Edwards at a ribbon-cutting event held at Amite Westside Middle Magnet School. The event was held to celebrate one of the district’s newest educational offerings, Star Academy, offered at both Amite Westside Middle Magnet School in Amite and Greenville Park Leadership Academy in Hammond. 

Star Academy is a dynamic STEM-driven, hands-on learning program proven to advance and inspire students in a non-traditional learning environment. The program utilizes project-based learning and technology-driven curriculum. Through their core curriculum courses, students work independently and collaboratively to develop leadership and employability skills. While enrolled in the Star Academy program, students are exposed to over 100 careers and build vital skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving. 

As part of the event, guests had the opportunity to partake in student-led tours of the Star Academy classrooms, as well as hear remarks from Mrs. Melissa Stilley, Superintendent of Tangipahoa Parish Schools, and Governor John Bel Edwards. Emphasizing the importance that Star Academy and other learning initiatives have on education, Governor Edwards said, “I’m very excited for the students who are taking part in this program and about the way in which it helps to keep them engaged in school and understand in a very real way the value of continuing their education. The STEM-focused curriculum and instruction incorporates hands-on learning, individualized instruction, collaborative learning, team-based instruction, and real world connections. It all helps the students to see that they can be successful in school and ultimately in life.”   

At Amite Westside, 60 students in the seventh and eighth grades are enrolled in the program, overseen by Mrs. Reagan English (Principal) and taught by Academy teachers: Dedriana Perry (Science), Greg Millirons (Social Studies), Jyothi Sathyanarayana (Math), and Amber Morris (English Language Arts). The Star Academy program at Greenville Park is led by Mr. Bobby Matthews (Principal) and Academy Teachers include John Griffitt (Social Studies), Kayla Wilson (Math), and Mercy Govada (Science), and Kelly Perkins (English Language Arts). The program currently serves 56 students in seventh and eighth grade. 

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to have two Star Academy programs in our district. In reflecting on how this program is going to help our students – one of the goals the district has is to have students graduate postsecondary and career ready. Star Academy will help to achieve this goal as it incorporates career exploration, and helps students set goals and see future opportunities,” said Dr. Lisa Fussell, Assistant Superintendent of Tangipahoa Parish Schools.

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