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Before the renovations

After the renovations in 2010

Walter L. Abney Elementary School first opened its doors in August of 1964 and is located in south Slidell on a lovely ten acre campus.  The school, which was called Southside Elementary until 1970, was under the direction of Principal Ralph Rousseaux.  It served approximately six hundred students in grades one through six.  The original school consisted of the front four wings, the cafeteria, and part of the office area.

     Since its start forty-nine years ago, Abney has seen a number of changes.  Originally self-contained, the faculty experimented with departmentalization in the late 1960’s.  After several years, however, it was decided to return to the school’s initial organization pattern.  Beginning in the 1969-1970 school year, Abney’s sixth graders were moved to St. Tammany Junior High School.  Then, two years later, in 1971-1972, kindergarten began attending Abney for half a day.  Full-day kindergarten began in 1990-1991.

     In order to keep up with the continued growth of the student body, a number of additions have had to be included in the school.  In 1966-67, the gym and the old library, which is now the lounge, were built.  In 1973, the fifth grade wing was completed.  A few years later, in 1978-1979, the school was again expanded to include the kindergarten wing and the current library media center.  This allowed the old library to be renovated into the faculty lounge area.  Following these changes, in 1985-1986, the current music room was added to the school and the gym and office area were renovated.  As the student population continued to increase, twelve classrooms, a conference room, and a testing room were built in 1992-1993.  Twelve modular classrooms were added in 1998-1999.  The cafeteria was renovated and enlarged in 2001-2002.  The last addition to the school was a six classroom wing that opened in 2004-2005. 

     During its years of continued growth, Abney has been led by a number of administrators.  Originally under the solid direction of Mr. Rousseaux, Abney student population grew enough to warrant an assistant principal in 1977.  This position was held by Miss E. Ruth Dubuisson.  Miss Dubuisson then followed Mr. Rousseaux as principal two years later and held the position until her retirement at the end of the 1990-1991 school year.  While Miss Dubuisson was principal, the position of assistant principal was held by Mrs. Claudette Songy from 1982-1984, and then by Miss Lynn Skidmore.  An additional assistant principal was provided during the 2004-2005 school year due to the large student body, and Mrs. Donna Smith was appointed to this position.  Miss Skidmore retired in January 2004, and Ms. Kathleen Katsorchis was appointed to the assistant principal position.  Jane Freeman followed Miss Dubuisson as principal and served in that position from 1991-2006.  Upon her retirement, Ms. Katsorchis was appointed principal.  Mr. Robert “Mike”Alford was appointed principal in 2008. Mr Alford Retitred in 2016 and Mrs. Jackson was appointed Principal for the 2016-2017 school year.   Mrs.Diana Troyer and Dr. Seu He Ledet are currently serving as the assistant principals. Mrs. Kimberly Blanks is currently the principal at Abney Early Childhood Center.
     Abney has participated in a variety of programs designed to improve instruction.  Originally part of Right-To-Read, the school then became part of the SPUR program.  Abney achieved Model School status from reading under this program in 1982.  Since then, the school has participated in the LEARN program, the STEEP program, and Southern Association.  Abney received its initial Southern Association accreditation in 1986 and has maintained this accreditation.  The school was honored with the recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School in 1998-1999.  The school has been a part of the accountability program with the federal and state governments.  Abney has received monetary rewards for several years for exceptional progress.

     The school was devastated in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina poured three feet of water into it.  With the support of the School Board, the City of Slidell, and help from state and federal governments, the school was able to reopen with the other schools in St. Tammany Parish.  In 2011, Abney's Kindergarten and Pre-K grades formed Abney's Early Childhood Center right next door to Abney's main campus. Abney continues to be an important part of the community and a great place to be!

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