Jennifer joined VITA as the Executive Director in January of 2017.  Jennifer comes to VITA with over 20 years of non-profit experience managing, federal, state, local and foundation grant awards and program administration.  She is responsible for creating funding for the VITA programs so that they remain free for students.  With a background working in public health programs, Jennifer understands the many barriers students face when trying to achieve an education.  Jennifer strives to create initiatives that overcome the barriers for VITA students to attend classes.


Jennifer is married with one adult daughter,  living in North Carolina, an almost-grown son and a feisty standard poodle named Piper. 

Jennifer Burris: 
Executive Director
Norma Guidry: 
Gail Billeaud: 
Student Services

Gail comes to VITA from the world of business administration. She worked many years in retail management in both Houston and Lafayette. She joined the VITA staff part-time in 1997 and has since become our full-time administrative assistant. She's the first face you see when you come to VITA!

April Porterfield: 

April previously worked in the daycare industry, spending 5 years as director of Small World Daycare in Carencro. She was VITA's intern in the spring of 2014, and she loved it so much, she joined the staff after graduation. She currently teaches ESL conversation, vocabulary, and citizenship. 

Janel Fontenot:

Janel is a retired public school teacher, having taught kindergarten and first grade for 33 years. She started volunteering for VITA after retirement, and she loved the mission and especially loved the students. She was hired to teach the beginning level students and has now been an ESL instructor  with VITA for  over 10 years. 

While serving in the U. S. Air Force, Catherine graduated from Medical Administrative School and used her

skills to type surgery schedules in the hospital.  Since that time she has had

many years of experience using computers

in the workforce.  She enjoys her job as an instructor in the  VITA Computer Lab as well as helping students with online job searches and completing online applications. 

Catherine Lantznester:
Computer Lab 
Stephanie Chavis-Rideaux
Opelousas Instructor
Roslyn Jacobis:
Opelousas Instructor

Roslyn has worked in Adult Education for a total of 27 years (21 years with the St. Landry Parish School Board and 6 years  with VITA). She now serves as VITA's office assistant and night school instructor, as well as handling student registration, TABE testing, and official HiSET practice testing. 

Stephanie has worked in Adult Education for 21 years, (12 years for St. Landry Parish School Board and 9 years for VITA Adult Education Program). She instructs both day and night classes in the Pre-HiSet and HiSet.  Additional duties include the  WorkReadyU  data implementation, TABE and Practice  HiSET test administration.

Norma has been a part of the VITA program for many years and finds it gratifying to see the immeasurable impact the VITA program makes on the lives of individuals and their families.  Coming from a business  administration background that gradually evolved into education and volunteer community involvement helped prepare her for working for a non-profit organization. She presently teaches an intermediate reading class and an ESL advanced conversation class and she matches and supports VITA students and volunteer tutors.


She adores her five grandchildren who affectionately call her “Nonnie.”

Howard Kennerson:
Opelousas Instructor

Howard Kennerson joined the VITA family in the year 2016.  He brings an eclectic amount of experience to the program.  He has worked in various industries for over 40 years as an IT professional, a Mental Health Professional and an Educator.

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 Lafayette (337) 234-4600 / St. Landry (337) 942-1511 / Fax (337) 234-4672 /

VITA: Volunteer Instructors Teaching Adults