DUALC Alums: Exceptional Educators & Teachers of the Year

November 7, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA – Five LSU Dual Certification alumni have been named Teacher of the Year at their respective schools.
The award recipients are:
Courtney Crabtree – Teacher of the Year, Caneview K-8 School, West Baton Rouge Parish 
Mary Lukinovich – Teacher of the Year, Cohn Elementary, West Baton Rouge Parish 
Kayleigh Cashio – Teacher of the Year, Brusly Elementary, West Baton Rouge Parish 
Katie Santangelo – Teacher of the Year, Lukeville Elementary, West Baton Rouge Parish 
Kathleen Brechtel – New Teacher of the Year, Belle Chasse Elementary, Plaquemines Parish

Katie Santangelo said, “Being named Teacher of the Year simply means being recognized for all the effort and dedication to my career. I strive to be a leader and mentor when I am able, and I believe Teacher of the Year opens more doors to be able do just that! There are countless ideas in my “teacher mind” on how to become the best version of myself. I am honored that my coworkers and administrators chose me to represent a teacher that excels in planning and instruction. West Baton Rouge has some of the most exceptional teachers I have ever met. Being named one of those teachers has greatly encouraged me to continue on my path of educating young people.”

Crabtree, Lukinovich, Cashio, Brechtel, and Santangelo all “did the dual” at LSU. The Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education’s grades 1-5 dual certification degree is an eight-semester program of study that allows students to graduate with two certifications. As graduates of the Dual Certification program, these Teachers of the Year all participated in a curriculum designed to provide students with the opportunity to receive dual certification in elementary grades 1-5 and special education through an integrated program of study.
Santangelo reflected on how the dual certification program prepared her for the classroom. She said, “I am grateful for the DUALC program offered at LSU. I was able to teach special education in a variety of settings for 13 years. The program prepared me by providing pedagogical knowledge needed to be an effective teacher for students with exceptionalities in different learning environments. It gave me a deeper understanding of the types of students I would encounter. The program also gave me the opportunity to truly understand behavior disorders and how to successfully intervene and respond to ensure student success.”
To learn more about becoming an exceptional educator, click here.