Jack Nelson is not the only new administrative face around St. Michael’s campus this school year. Joining the Warrior family as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction is Baton Rouge native, Kevin Landry. Landry joined forces with Nelson over the summer of 2020 with an extensive background in classroom teaching, as well as expertise in educational technology and standardized test prep.
Fresh out of college, Landry worked as a commercial banker while coaching high school soccer on the side. Eventually, his love for coaching surpassed his financial finesse, and he accepted a job as the head soccer coach at Catholic High School, where he also became a math teacher.
It was during these years that an unshakable seed was planted into Landry’s head. “I always wanted to get into administration. During my third year of teaching at Catholic, Greg Brandao told me he thought I would make a good principal one day. After that, it never left my mind as something that I wanted to do,” he shares.
After six years at Catholic High School, and another brief stint in the financial world, Landry made his way to St. Joseph’s Academy, where he taught multiple math courses, as well as AP economics for 12 years. It was during this time that he had the opportunity to begin developing a standardized test prep company as well as obtain his master’s degree in educational technology. However, the words of Brandao had stuck with Landry, and when the St. Michael position presented itself, Landry knew it was the right fit. “God works in mysterious ways,” he muses. “I had applied for a different position in the dioceses and did not get it. But I must have made enough of an impression because they called St. Michael and told them to interview me. Doors always open and close based on where God wants you to end up. I got to St. Michael, and I knew it was meant to be just because I immediately felt like myself here.”
Of course, joining the St. Michael administrative team during the middle of a pandemic was something new for Landry as well, but he took it in stride. “I like big challenges, and this was a big problem to solve so I made as many suggestions as I could. Right away I began working on all the protocols…from a mathematical perspective, it was fitting for my brain,” he says. “It was a big job to tackle but it gave me something to do as soon as I started here while I was stepping into a new role and navigating those new responsibilities.”
Landry, like Nelson, shares big goals for St. Michael even through this adverse time. As a short-term substitute teacher for Algebra II this year, Landry said he saw the potential of St. Michael students instantly. “Pushing those kids to higher level thinking and getting them to do the hard work; I was very happy with their response to it,” he shares. One of Landry’s main goals is for St. Michael to become a Blue-Ribbon Certified school. The National Blue-Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence. “A large component of that is standardized test scores. Luckily, that is my expertise. I know through experience that with the right prep and hard work, you can raise your ACT scores.”
Implemented in January will be school wide ACT program. Beginning with the junior class, a diagnostic test will be completed along with a skills report, the results of which will filter down into the curriculum throughout the next few years.
Another idea brought to the table by Landry was beginning a PSAT program on campus, identifying 11 of the top standardized test-taking students to train to become National Merit Semifinalist. His goal with them? Have a least half qualify as National Merit Scholars within the next year.
“I think we have big things ahead of us,” he mentions in closing. “There is a great base here to do something special. I am excited for the next few years.”
Meanwhile, make sure to check out Landry’s test taking tips found in the monthly SMHS newsletters (emailed and posted to the website). He writes about the test taking process, helpful test prep ideas, and useful resources for parents and students.