"Kids don't care what you know until they know that you care." - Marco French

I promise you. That headline is not hyperbole. It is no exaggeration. It is not clickbait.

Erin McCarty and I have spoken with hundreds of guests in our more-than-five-year tenure on the KEEL morning show. But not one, in recent memory at least, has evoked the reaction we had when listening to Marco French, Principal at Shreveport's Queensborough Leadership Academy (formerly Queensborough Elementary).

Chills. That's what he gave us. In a relatively short eight-minute conversation, French, in explaining his academic philosophies, embodied everything you would ever want an educator to be.

French was named the Principal of the Year for all Louisiana schools at an awards ceremony on Friday, July 16.

Here's what Principal of the Year Marco French told KEEL listeners:

"I always treat my kids the way I wanted to be treated as a student," French says, describing his hands-on style of education. "And in order to get anyone to buy into your vision, or to believe in you and trust you with their kids, you have to show yourself to be available.

"If that means going door to door, if that means taking them home or picking them up for school...I'm going to do it. And it brings me great joy. I love my students. I love my community."

When French was named principal of Queensborough Elementary in 2017, the school was facing state takeover. In just four years, the school experienced tremendous growth, not only being removed from the state’s academically failing list, but receiving recognition as one of Louisiana’s Outstanding Schools.

"The things that motivate me to do those kinds of things is because the students need me. I believe this is part of my mission, part of my calling, my ministry. Those are the things that motivate me to make sure that people (say), 'Mr. French, my principal, he cares about me and he's willing to do whatever it is to show me that I can do (anything), be (anything).'"

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