Rhonda Detraz

4th Grade ELA Teacher, RLRP Cohort 5
James A. Herod Elementary School

1. Where were you born?

I was born in New Iberia, Louisiana.

2. Where did you graduate high school?
I graduated from Vermilion Catholic High School in Abbeville, Louisiana.

3. What was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subjects in school were English and History.

4. Who was the most influential person in deciding your career path?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an elementary teacher. When I reflect on my own elementary years, I often think of my third grade teacher, Mrs. Joan Suire.  If I had to pick one person who influenced my decision to become an elementary teacher, I would have to choose Mrs. Joan. 

5. Why did you decide to become a principal?
I have decided to become a principal because I would like to have a hand in creating a culture that would be nurturing for the students and faculty.  I would love to have the opportunity to build and strengthen the relationship between all stakeholders. By creating a strong relationship between all stakeholders, it is my goal that this would foster an environment that would promote student success and pride in the community.

6. What college did you attend?
 I attended and graduated from ULL, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  In addition to my degree in education, I also have a degree in Office Occupations from Gulf Area Technical School. 

7. What do you think the biggest issue with education is today?
I think one of the biggest issues in education today is the Common Core and the misunderstanding concerning the standards and transition period which the state pulled from the districts.  Another issue in education is teacher moral due to amount of attention on accountability with negative consequences. 

8. What did you do before you entered the RLRP program?
Before entering the RLRP program, I worked as a third grade classroom teacher.  I continue to work as classroom teacher, however, I now am teaching fourth grade ELA.

9. What made you decide to participate in the RLRP program?
I decided to participate in the RLRP program because I want to have the option of furthering my career.  I have a goal on becoming a principal of an elementary school. 

10. What is the hardest part about the RLRP program?
The hardest part about the RLRP program would be balancing the requirements of the program with the requirements of being a classroom teacher.

11. What has been the biggest part of your success in RLRP?
The biggest part of my success in the RLRP would be credited to outstanding leadership and peer support.  Dr. James Gray has provided and continues to provide invaluable guidance as my RLRP coach and mentor.  It has been very beneficial to be able to call upon his experience in a wide variety of educational leadership positions.  In addition to Dr. Gray’s guidance and support, having a coworker as a fellow cohort member has been extremely helpful.  Jennifer McGee and I joined the program together as Cohort 5 members. We have been able to support each other, work on projects together, and bounce ideas off of one other throughout this program.  With Dr. Gray’s and Jennifer’s continued support, I feel certain that success in the completion of the RLRP program is guaranteed. 

12. How has your learning experience been since joining the RLRP program?
As a member RLRP, I have had a much enriched learning experience. The opportunity to have hands-on instruction and learning, real time feedback, and constant support has been unlike any before educational experience.  The convenience of the program has been a perfect solution for my situation of having a family and being a classroom teacher.

13. What has been most rewarding since joining the RLRP program?
I believe the most rewarding aspect of belonging to the RLRP program is the confidence I have gained.  I also appreciate having made the contacts that I have through the program. 

14. What piece of advice do you have for anyone considering the program?
I would advise anyone to consider the program.  As I progress in the program, I am able to appreciate the value of the work and have come to realize that the time and effort is worth it.  Working in the program has given me a valuable experience with real world preparation in becoming a school leader.

15. Would you recommend the RLRP program to other teachers? Why?
I would highly recommend the RLRP program to other teachers.  In fact, I have already recommended it.  I would recommend it because of the tremendous amount of support you receive throughout the program.  Everyone involved truly wants you to succeed.