The rankings are out and one Acadiana school district is in the top ten for best school districts in Louisiana. Vermilion Parish has cracked the top ten. 

They currently rank number nine out of the 64 school parishes in the state. Superintendent Tommy Byler admits it hasn’t been easy but credits the progressiveness of the system as a whole. “There are a lot of moving parts that go into a school system. Anytime you get recognition it means a lot,” Byler says.  

The national survey recognizes the school district as having the best school district in Acadiana and ninth best in the state. However, Superintendent Byler does not shy away from recent adversities. Byler explains, “There is a different mentality out there. Teachers are tired. Students are tired.” 

Sunday will mark the two year anniversary of the shut down Louisiana schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the last two years have proved, education is a marathon, not a sprint. “We are not going to fix lost time overnight,” continues Byler.  

He credits an at-home support system that kept the district afloat and maintaining its annual top ten performance. Byler adds, “We have to have parental support pushing students towards education.” 

Besides the pandemic, Byler says the school district is still dealing with the after effects and the $50,000,000 in damages from back to back hurricanes. “The fact we can move forward is a credit to the whole system,” Byler explains.  

He says despite being one of the best, Vermilion Parish is not immune to the global teacher and staff shortages. Byler continues, “All while the standard they are judged at has not changed.” Byler says the Vermilion Parish is not used to facing uncertified teachers. 

He says past numbers usually sat around eight. Currently, they are faced with nearly 60 uncertified teachers. “We put programs in place, grow your own teacher project,” says Byler.  

The next hurdle plaguing the parish is expansion but Byler says plans are already in place to make sure the quality of education does not waiver. Byler adds, “We do have growing pains. We will have to address those in the very near future.”

By Alece Courville; Originally published by KLFY, March 11, 2022