MARY MEAUX — We are fortunate to have great educators in Southeast Texas

Published 12:06 am Thursday, February 2, 2023

Earlier this week I got to meet Shalequa Landry and learn face-to face-why this woman earned the title of Teacher of the Month.

Let me backup a step and explain Teacher of the Month is an award given to local educators making a difference in the lives of their students. It is sponsored by Philpott Motors and comes with a $500 gift card.

Then, in December, a Teacher of the Year is chosen from the monthly winners.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And we are fortunate enough to have some really great teachers in our area.

So, when I walked into Landry’s computer science classroom at Memorial High School this week accompanied by Philpott Motors General Manager Darin Granger, Port Arthur News Sales Consultant Candace Hemelt and Assistant Principal Trent Johnson; I wasn’t surprised to see the educator teaching a lesson to a class of students.

The award came as a surprise and she was clearly shocked to learn the news. Her students were happy and began clapping and smiling.

We walked outside the classroom to talk about her feelings on the award, how she came to teach and how she worked for diversity by engaging females in the course of computer science.

She motioned to the wall outside the classroom, where student projects were displayed. Her students had created their dream home, which included interior and exterior views. Landry said she’d like to get in touch with HGTV and show them her students’ work because some of them are interested in interior design and similar fields.

That’s showing a lot of faith in the talents and aspirations of the students she works with.

While getting the course off to a good start she noticed the computer science field is mostly male-dominated.

“I started walking around recruiting and that’s when I thought about diversity,” she said. “I thought, ‘Hey, most males are enrolled. How can we get females enrolled in this class?’ So each year I kind of stop and say, ‘Hey, what are you interested in doing in the near future? Oh, computer science engineering? Well you need to check out my class. What’s your name, what’s your student ID?’”

And that’s how she started recruiting more females to the AP computer science class.

Earlier this year Landry earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles.

Teachers and schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.

I applaud Landry for getting students excited about computer science, making the course fun and giving the students a path toward a thriving career.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at