Educator Oveal Watkins retires after 40 years in school system

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

Supervisor of Instruction Oveal Watkins retired January 31 after serving first as a teacher and then in a series of administrative posts during his 40 years with the Iberville Parish School System.

“He's been an incredible source of leadership for this parish for over 40 years,” said Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne Jr. “He's filled every position, and has been a source of motivation for the children.”

Watkins has served as a department head, business manager, assistant principal, principal and acting superintendent of schools. He ended his career as supervisor of instruction for high schools and career and technical education.

“During the course of my tenure, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with some very outstanding people who have had a great impact on my career, and I am most grateful to all of them,” Watkins said last month in a letter to Cancienne announcing his intent to retire. “Most importantly, I feel honored and privileged to have worked in this district since 1972 over the span of many years and with five superintendents.”

“I realize my success over the years is directly attributed to many people who have helped shape my career,” he continued. “Some of those persons are deceased, and some have left the school system, but they all shared a common thread, to give a helping hand to young educators or growing our own.”

He said the School Board had been supportive and respectful of him every time he appeared before them.

“I am grateful to them for all that they have done for me in my efforts to make a difference in the lives of our boys and girls,” he said. “The impact that we have had on our students had produced a myriad of professionals: doctors, nurses, engineers, musicians, accountants, lawyers, ministers, office professionals, teachers, principals, college professors, public officials, and most importantly, “Good Citizens.” Oh, yes, some even sit on the board of education, giving back to their community.”

Watkins said he also had worked with many outstanding teachers and academically able students.

“Many of those persons were instrumental in helping Iberville move forward. I am so grateful to the many passionate, dedicated, innovative and professional teachers who share a common bond, a philosophy that states, 'Failure is not an option.' In public education, there is always room under the tent for all comers, and we have had our share of students who needed more help than others, but we embraced all students and provided a learning plan that facilitated growth and personal success.”

Watkins said that though he was retiring, he would continue to use his voice to advance the cause of quality education for all students.