Teacher of the Year
The Louisiana Teacher of the Year Program, which is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Dream Teachers, is an annual event designed to recognize and honor top performing teachers in our state. Acts 134 and 308 of the 1986 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session mandate that public schools in Louisiana participate in this recognition program.
The statewide competition is part of the National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a nonpartisan, nationwide organization of public officials who head departments of education in across the United States.
A candidate for Louisiana Teacher of the Year should hold full state certification and be a classroom teacher in any state-approved or accredited public school, pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, who plans to continue in an active teaching status in the classroom. They must show evidence of their positive impact on student achievement and understanding of Compass and the Common Core State Standards, both state priorities.
The major purpose of the program is to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of the classroom teacher. Therefore, junior college and university teachers, school personnel whose major responsibilities are administrative or supervisory, principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, and librarians are ineligible.
The selection criteria for the 2014 Teacher of the Year program has been updated to align more closely with Compass and Common Core. Additionally, the application and selection processes have been streamlined to be more efficient for candidates, school leaders, district coordinators, and review committee members alike.
The selection process begins at the district level with LEAs selecting their top elementary, middle and high school teacher based on application results that include instructional video submissions, analysis of student data and teacher responses. The LEA then ranks their finalists one through three and submits their first ranked teacher to the state selection committee.
The top ranked teachers from each LEA in the state, including charter schools, are then observed in their classrooms by a member of the state observation team consisting of master educators and state coaches. The observation committee then shares their feedback with the LDOE.
Based on the feedback from the state observation team, the LDOE will then select the top five finalists for Teacher of the Year and submit them to the selection committee consisting of educators and community leaders. The committee will interview the finalists and select the overall winner. The winner will be honored at the Educator Excellence Symposium and represent Louisiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
The ten Teachers of the Year finalists are honored by the State Department of Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the business community, at the Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration. The educational symposium, including professional development workshops and keynote speaker, is followed by an evening awards ceremony where the overall Louisiana Teacher of the Year winner is announced and presented with valuable awards and gifts.
Teachers of the Year may be called upon on various occasions during their year of recognition to serve as special advisers to the State Superintendent regarding classroom teaching or to serve on Louisiana Department of Education committees concerning curricular development, teacher education, and student involvement.