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The Louisiana Department of Education announced the 2022 Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year at the 15th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala, held virtually the evening of Friday, July 16. Marco French of Queensborough Elementary School in Caddo Parish was named the 2022 State Principal of the Year.

“Congratulations to the 2022 Louisiana Principal of the Year! Marco French is a visionary, innovative, game-changing school leader who embodies what all students need for success,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “French is a walking testimony in perseverance, resilience, and tenacity. He came to education with a heart for changing lives and a willingness to go above and beyond for his students. I am so excited to mentor this amazing young leader!”

Being taught the importance of pride, dignity, and dedication led French to accomplish transformative work throughout his career. French started this journey as a substitute teacher at Atkins Elementary in 2003. In January 2010, he pursued a career in education and, once certified, he used his faithfulness, perseverance, and resilience to become a force for good within his school and district.

Named principal of Queensborough Elementary in 2017, a school that was facing state takeover, French was charged with turning around the school. Despite the challenges of high mobility rates, high poverty, and a crime-stricken neighborhood, French accepted no excuses. He worked diligently in establishing relationships with the community and his students, and within two years, the community invested in the school once again, improving the neighborhood. Under French’s leadership, the school experienced tremendous growth as evidenced by being removed from the state’s academically failing list, receiving recognition as Louisiana’s Outstanding School, and ranking number one of the top ten high-performing schools for third-grade literacy progress and growth in 2019. Queensborough was also recognized for having the highest growth in the district with a 93.7 percent progress index and a school performance score increase of eight points. French received his Bachelor of Science in Education from Grambling State University and earned his Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University.

“I have always seen so much potential in this young man from his days in the classroom to the leader he has grown to be,” said Marvin Alexander, Executive Director of School Performance. “He’s always been very studious, dedicated, and relatable. He truly has a gift of not only working with students but also with parents. He is one of the few leaders I know who understands what it takes to build relationships while gaining a parent’s trust and building on that trust for the benefit of his school community.”