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2022 Locals Love Us Favorite School Administrator: Meloni Puishes

Kingsland School Principal Meloni Puishes was voted a Locals Love Us Favorite School Administrator. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Sharing in the success of her students could explain in part why Kingsland School Principal Meloni Puishes was voted a 2022 Locals Love Us Favorite School Administrator by The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners.

She couldn’t contain her excitement when she talked about a student who “has made a year and nine months' growth in his math skills,” a subject he and many others have worked together to improve.

“We are college preparatory,” she said of Kingsland School. “We see awesome growth in our classes.”

Puishes views winning Favorite School Administrator as validation of the good she and staff are doing each day.

“I’m excited about that,” she said. “I think that award means the community sees what a good job we’re doing at Kingsland School and how hard we’ve been working to make sure the students are ready to be contributing members of society. The award means the community is recognizing the good work we’re doing in our school.”

Puishes has been Kingsland School principal since the Orenda Charter Schools system campus opened six years ago. It currently serves students in kindergarten through 11th grade. The school plans to add 12th grade for the 2022-23 academic year.

In college, Puishes at first was not sure of a major.

“I looked at a couple of career options, but they didn’t excite me,” she said. “But I enjoyed being the person who managed the different tutoring sessions. It became clear it was something I enjoyed and became passionate about.”

That was more than 30 years ago. When she started as a teacher, she didn’t see herself leaving the classroom.

“I had several of my mentors push me into administration,” she said. “One of them said, ‘Being principal of the school means you’re the teacher of the teachers.’ If you look at it, the principal is the one who makes sure the teachers have what they need. You haven’t left the classroom; it’s gotten bigger. We have some amazing teachers on our campus who are very dedicated to our students and student success.”

In more than three decades of being a school administrator, she never had a chance to start a school from the ground up. So when she got the chance, she took it.

“It’s a rare opportunity for school administrators to start a campus from scratch,” she said. “I applied for it and was fortunate enough to be selected. I’m using all the things I’ve learned along the way.”

And she hasn’t completely left the classroom. She's been teaching fifth- and sixth-grade language arts and social studies.

“When we don’t have a substitute available, that teacher is Meloni Puishes,” she said, naming herself. “Our subs haven’t been available since we came back from Christmas break.

At the end of the 2022-23 school year, she will present diplomas to graduating seniors, something she hopes to do for the foreseeable future.

“It’ll be our very first graduation ceremony,” she said. “I can’t wait. Seniors will be leaving us with dual credit. Some will leave with college credits. I think they’ll do great when they get out in the world.”

As for the future, Puishes plans to stay at Kingsland School until she retires.

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