St. Landry

Nov 8, 2013 7:25 PM by Akeam Ashford

One Man's Journey From Janitor to Principal

One man's drive to succeed has taken him from the janitor's closet to the front office at Port Barre Elementary School.

The St. Landry Parish School Board voted to name Joseph G. Sonnier as principal of Port Barre Elementary at Wednesday's school board meeting.

Sonnier spent 27 years as the school's janitor before earning his bachelor's degree from UL.

"I would come to work at like five in the morning and leave for seven. Then I would go to school all day and come back and finish up my eight hours of work at school," Sonnier said.

Since earning his degree, Sonnier no longer has to watch students from the hallway.

"I was able to teach third grade for three years. A few years ago I went to get my masters. I did it through Arkansas State University, which is a UL rival, because they're in the same conference," says Sonnier.

Friends and co-workers of Sonnier say this couldn't have happened to anyone better.

"I have a lot of admiration for Mr. Sonnier, because he put family first," says Angela Rideaux. "He put family first, then he took care of himself."

On his first official day as principal, Sonnier says he's excited about his future job.

"God knows the time, and god knows the season. There's a season for everything, and this is my time; I feel it and I know it," says Sonnier.

Sonnier replaces Melville Mayor Willie Haynes as the school's administrator.

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