|Women Who Mean Business 2011|
A lifelong learner as well as a teacher, she pours herself into her profession.
Ever since Dolores Cormier-Zenon took her first steps into a classroom as an educator, she has lived and breathed teaching. Her inspiration to become a teacher started after she watched her mother teach a class and saw how excited her students were about what her mother was sharing with them and her overall ability to engage her students.
“I felt the energy in the room, and at that point it was like watching an art,” she says.
Cormier-Zenon has worked as a curriculum coordinator at Carencro Middle School for the past three years servicing and supporting teachers, providing professional development and surrogating data.
“I love what I do and I can’t think of any other profession that so intricately influences or encourages a child to dream and achieve [their] dreams, and I believe we participate in that,” says Cormier-Zenon. “It’s a part of me. Teaching just so contributes to our future, and our children are a part of that.”
Cormier-Zenon’s early career consisted of teaching at various elementary and middle schools in her district, where she says she was always a teacher who “believed in the power of the parent and the power of what we could provide in helping children.”
She then decided to leave the classroom to work at the state Department of Education, serving as a distinguished educator and working hand-in-hand with teachers, district personnel and principals in low-performing schools and providing professional development and data analysis to help improve student scores.
“It was very fulfilling work because I had an opportunity to see three schools come out of corrective action as a result of all the work that we did to impact student achievement,” she says.
Her skills of course eventually led her to N.P. Moss Middle School where she served as a curriculum coordinator before the position was eventually closed, allowing her to transfer to Carencro Middle.
Cormier-Zenon holds a master’s degree in education and is working on her doctorate in educational leadership, saying that it is important for teachers “to learn and to continue learning to improve our effectiveness.”
She’s also a national board-certified teacher, winner of the 1999 Teacher of the Year in elementary education, a Governor’s Environmental Grant and Educational Endowment recipient and a member of the Who’s Who Among Teachers and Who’s Who Among Outstanding Professionals. She has also been recognized as an outstanding distinguished educator by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Another of her accomplishments was the founding of several school newsletters and programs like Dream A Wish that allowed teachers to better connect with students by making them Secret Santas to disadvantaged children during the holidays.
She says she’s thankful for everything she has learned and continues to learn from parents, teachers, colleagues, students and, of course, from her most important teachers — her two children, Christian and Corey Zenon. “I’m just really blessed to be a mother and next to that being a teacher.
“What better way can you think of that we can contribute to our society and become involved in shaping our society?” she adds. “I wanted to help children to realize that. I wanted to help them realize all that they could be and to be all that they could be. I just feel honored and blessed that I’m able to be such a teacher.” — Wynce Nolley
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