Avoyelles Parish native is Louisiana Teacher of the Year

Nathalie Roy teachers Roman technology, Latin in Baton Rouge

For the second time in four years, an Avoyelles Parish native has been named Louisiana's Teacher of the Year.

Nathalie Roy, a Mansura native and a Bordelonville High graduate, received that honor on Sept. 4. Her term as the state's "top teacher" begins Jan. 1.

Three years ago, Marksville High graduate Kimberly Eckert took the same top state honor for 2018.

When Eckert heard about Roy being in the finalists this year, she visited Roy to congratulate her.

While Avoyelles can brag it has two Teachers of the Year, unfortunately for Avoyelles, both teachers now use their skills at out-of-parish schools.

Roy teachers at Glasgow Middle School in East Baton Rouge Parish schools where teaching the "Three R's" of "Readin', 'Ritin' and 'Rithmetic" weren't enough of a challenge. She added a fourth "R" -- Roman Technology.

Among her many honors, she is especially proud of being Bordelonville High School's last valedictorian in the Class of 1988. The school was closed after that year in a federal court-ordered consolidation that was
part of a desegregation lawsuit.

"I lived in Mansura, but because my parents both taught at Bordelonville High, I was able to go to that school for my entire 12 years of school," Nathalie said.

Her parents, Thad and Diane Roy of Mansura, are now retired educators.

Before joining the Glasgow faculty three years ago, Nathalie taught in the private Episcopal School of Baton Rouge.

Her classes may seem "unnecessary" to those with a laser-focus on "core curriculum," but they meet a need that many schools don't.

Nathalie teaches Roman Technology, classical mythology and Latin.

SCIENCE & HISTORY MIX

Perhaps her most popular isRoman Technology, which mixes science and history to give students an idea of how the ancient Greeks and Romans lived.

"In Roman Technology we reproduce the products of ancient Rome by using the tools, processes and methods they used," Nathalie said. "This is called 'experimental archaeology.'

Students have so much fun they may forget they are actually learning science and world history during their hands-on learning experiences.

That "outside the box" approach to teaching is probably what convinced the state Teacher of the Year judges to choose Nathalie for the honor.

"I am very honored and humbled to serve my state as the Teacher of the Year and to represent not only Louisiana but all teachers and students for the coming year," Nathalie
said.

"The best thing about teaching these classes is that I am able to introduce kids to the classical world," Nathalie said. "These are students who otherwise may never have had the opportunity
to learn this."

While hearing Nathalie's courses might evoke images of fancy boarding schools for upper-class trust fund babies, that isn't the case.

"Glasgow Middle is a very diverse school," she said.

She has three Roman Technology classes with a combined enrollment of 65. That class is "sold out" every year. Her Latin and Classical
Mythology classes are smaller.

Nathalie has been able to attract some outside grants to help her provide these unique classes.

ABOUT NATHALIE

She studied classical archaeology as a Fulbright Scholar at the American Academy in Rome and at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. She
has published articles on Roman technology with Cambridge University Press and the American Classical League (ACL).

During the COVID-19 pandemic she has partnered with the ACL to offer free, live- stream, hands-on lessons on Roman technology.

The East Baton Rouge School District noted that her classical mythology class started with 63 percent scoring "approaching basic" or "basic," but ended the class with 89 percent scoring "mastery" or
"advanced." Her Latin students went from 60 percent "approaching basic/basic" to 100 percent "mastery/advanced."

In addition to being a successful, popular and dedicated teacher, Nathalie also finds time to volunteer to lead two Girl Scout troops in the Baton Rouge area.

She brings that Girl Scout attitude of being a person of "courage, confidence and character" into the classroom, where she strives to make the world a better place -- one child at a time.

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