A recently retired French teacher from Vermilion Parish is taking the reins of one of the state’s most prominent teacher unions. Deborah Meaux, who completed 38 years in the classroom last May at Kaplan High, is the new president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, the LAE announced in a press release Monday.

“My goal is to continue the work of the LAE in creating great public schools for every child in Louisiana,” Meaux says in the press release announcing the assignment. “During my tenure, I hope to reinforce the community’s faith in Louisiana’s public school teachers and support professionals.”

Meaux takes over the top spot at the organization from another Acadiana teacher, Joyce Hanes of St. Landry Parish. “Our education system is at a crossroads and teachers need a strong professional network to support them,” Haynes adds. “Debbie has the skills to lead the association in the best direction to meet the needs of today’s committed educators.”

A past president of the Vermilion Association of Educators, Meaux takes the helm at the LAE during what many consider a period of upheaval for public school teachers — not only in Louisiana but across the country. Education “reform” movements bankrolled by powerful corporate interests via the American Legislative Exchange Council in concert with Republican-controlled legislatures are seeking to replace the traditional public education model with private-school vouchers and publicly funded (but privately run) charter schools, not to mention new teacher-accountability standards and attacks on tenure.

Says the new LAE president: “There’s much work to be done and I’m prepared to take on the challenge.”

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