Award Programs

Teacher and Principal of the Year Programs

Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year

2023 Principal of the Year Dr. David Schexnaydre, Jr.

Dr. David Schexnaydre, Jr.,
2023 Louisiana State
Principal of the Year

Twitter: @DrDSchex

Meet the 2023 Teacher and Principal of the Year State-Level Winners


The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes that great teachers and school leaders are critical to student success. Annually, the Department, in partnership with Dream Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Principals, recognizes and celebrates some of the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs. These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge those teachers and leaders who are making exceptional gains with students. Their commitment to student success exemplifies Louisiana’s education profession.

The Teacher and Principal of the Year application process for the 2022-2023 school year is open. All school systems are encouraged to select up to three teachers and three principals, one per division (elementary, middle and high) as their local-level honorees and submit these candidates to the state process. School systems without a formal selection process in place may elect to send their candidates directly to the state-level process.

State-level applications are due by January 11, 2023. By that time,


All applications and materials are posted in the resources library. Candidates submitting a state-level application and coordinators should join an informational webinar.

To view the current and previous Teacher and Principal of the Year honorees, visit the library.

 For questions about the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs, email

Teacher and Principal of the Year Library

Calling all Excellent New Educators

Announcing the 2023 New Teacher of the Year Finalists

The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes that great teachers and school leaders are critical to student success. Annually, the Department honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs. These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge educators who are achieving excellence. This year, the Louisiana Department of Education, in partnership with Dream Teachers, is launching the New Teacher Of the Year program which will recognize and celebrate some of the state’s most exceptional new educators.

This program provides an opportunity to acknowledge those new teachers who are already demonstrating excellence in the classroom and their commitment to student success that exemplifies Louisiana’s teaching profession. This addition to the already-existing Teacher and Principal of the Year programs will recognize the outstanding contributions of a first-year classroom teacher.

New Teacher of the Year - Less than one year of full time teaching experience

More details regarding the selection process and timeline for school systems can be found in the award program library.

For further information please contact


The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes that great teachers and leaders are critical to the development of our children. For the first time in our state’s history, the Department, in partnership with Dream Teachers, will recognize and celebrate some of Louisiana’s most exceptional early childhood educators through the Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year program. These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge those teachers and leaders who are exceptional representatives of a critical profession. It is time that these dedicated educators are recognized for their contribution to the lives of our state’s children and their future success in school and life.

The Department searched for the inaugural Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year honorees. Candidates were early childhood education Teachers or Leaders of the Year who serve any birth-five year old economically-disadvantaged children, children who are in publicly-funded programs, children who have disabilities, and/or children who are experiencing homelessness, by working in a Type III child care center, an Early Head Start or Head Start Center, or in a Family Child Care site participating in the LDOE Family Child Care (FCC) Pilot.

Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year

The five finalists for Louisiana’s Early Childhood Teacher of the Year are Janie Clement (Napoleonville Primary Head Start), Kayla Joseph (St. James Parish Head Start in Vacherie), Melissa Loucks (Riverside Educational Development Center in New Roads), Annie Richardson (Caneview K-8 Head Start in Port Allen), and Natalie Sullivan (Lafourche Parish Head Start in Thibodaux). The five finalists for Early Childhood Leader of the year are Charli Beall (Busy Bees Academy of Learning in Shreveport), Cindy Bennett Beatty (Riverside Educational Development Center in New Roads), Jennifer Kelsay (The Garden of Knowledge in Bogalusa), LeeAnn Price (Foundations Christian Learning Center in Pineville), and Rochelle Wilcox (Wilcox Academy in New Orleans).

All Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year Finalists and Semifinalists will be honored at the 16th Annual Excellent Educators Awards Gala that will be held at the World War II Museum in New Orleans on the evening of July 30, 2022. On this evening, the overall winners will be named. This exciting event is co-sponsored by Dream Teachers.”

For questions about the Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year programs, email

Seeking Recommendations for the Louisiana Exemplary Educator Recognition Program

The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes that great teachers and school leaders are critical to student success. Therefore, the Louisiana Exemplary Educator Recognition Program was created to acknowledge, honor, and spotlight exceptional teachers, teacher specialists, and school leaders who exemplify Louisiana’s education profession. If selected as an Exemplary Educator, the educator will receive a certificate of recognition and may be invited to participate on advisory boards and task forces, as well as be considered for recognition programs.

Candidates should have at least 5 years of experience serving in teacher, specialist, principal and/or assistant principal roles. This is a confidential process. Candidates should not be aware of this recommendation. To recommend candidates for the 2023 Exemplary Educator Recognition Program, complete an online application for each nominee.

Submit recommendations in the Nomination Portal.

The Nomination Portal will be open until  December 15, 2022.

Exemplary Educator Recognition Program

For applications and more information, visit the resources library. For questions, email

Louisiana Public Interest Fellowship Seal

2022 Public Interest Fellow Brian Gough
Brian Gough,
2022 Public Interest Fellow
Twitter: @AnAgileEducator

Louisiana Models of Excellence

The Louisiana Models of Excellence initiative was created in an effort to acknowledge, honor, and spotlight schools and school systems serving as exemplary models for implementing the Department’s Believe to Achieve educational priorities that leads to the advancement of student success. This initiative has three main goals.

  • To celebrate excellence in Louisiana schools
  • To share stories of success and provide models for others to see
  • To create high-impact partnerships across school system
The Department is now accepting nominations for the 2022-2023 Louisiana Models of Excellence. School systems may submit nominations for a school or a system-wide initiative through the online portal.

Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis; however, nominations need to be submitted by February 1, 2023 to be considered for the 2022-2023 school year. For more information regarding the Louisiana Models of Excellence, visit the resources library.

Click on the Louisiana Models of Excellence recipients below to learn about their exemplary initiatives.

Phillis Wheatley Community Schools (FirstLine Schools)
Phillis Wheatley Community School’s leadership team and staff are improving literacy outcomes through dedicating an instructional coach to literacy, tracking student data, and a commitment to professional growth through their Early Literacy initiative. Learn more about the Early Literacy initiative.

East Feliciana Public Schools
East Feliciana Public Schools is committed to accelerating learning recovery by providing students with additional opportunities for learning and growing through the summer months. Their summer learning program, EF Accelerate, focused on providing deeply engaging experiences, strong academics, and a balance of enrichment activities and field trips. Learn more about EF Accelerate.

Rapides Parish Schools
Rapides Parish Schools is guiding young people on a path to becoming accomplished teachers through a district level strategy for implementing a pre-educator pathway, collaborating with a university to offer dual enrollment classes and providing clinical experiences for future educators. Learn more about their Pre-Educator Pathway.

Mansfield Elementary School (DeSoto Parish)
Mansfield Elementary School is making great gains in literacy with their initiative for literacy interventions, Strategic Literacy Focus. Along with incorporating a "Whatever I Need (WIN)" literacy program, the leadership team and staff ensure all students receive intervention and extensions based on individual student needs. Learn more about Strategic Literacy Focus.

Lafourche Parish School District
Lafourche was named as a Models of Excellence recipient for the success of their innovative science initiative, Making the Impossible Possible Through Science, and their perseverance through Hurricane Ida. There approach to science includes strong instruction and engagement that’s even adaptable for emergency shifts to virtual instruction. Learn more about Making the Impossible Possible Through Science.

Questions regarding the Louisiana Models of Excellence may be directed to

Students of the Year Awards Program

Students of the Year Logo

2022 Students of the Year Announced

The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes that many outstanding students are enrolled in public, private, or charter schools throughout the state of Louisiana. To acknowledge these accomplishments, the Department, in conjunction with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, annually honors one incredible fifth, eighth, and twelfth grade student based on their leadership, academic performance, achievements, citizenship, and service to the school and community.

Students are selected by their school and submitted to the school system/diocese level; these nominees are then forwarded to a Regional Selection Committee. The resulting twenty-one finalists then compete at the state level. The winners of the three grade levels are announced on the evening of the final day of competition.

Students of the Year Materials

Purple Star School Award Program

This award will show recognition to schools that show a major commitment to serving students and families connected to the United States Armed Forces.

To earn the recognition, schools shall engage in the following activities:

  • Designate a staff member to serve as a military liaison and engage in the following: 
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for military connected students and families
  • Work to identify special considerations needed by military-connected students and families
  • Develop training to inform teachers and other school personnel of those special considerations
  • Create a dedicated page on its website featuring resources for military-connected students and families
  • Create a student-led transition program to provide peer support for military-connected students
Purple Star School Badge
The school system shall engage in the following:
  • Adopt a resolution stating the commitment to support military-connected students and families 
  • Assign a central office staff member to be the contact for the school-based liaison and military-connected students and families

School systems who meet the above criteria should complete the Purple Star School Award form. Schools that earn the designation will be provided a certificate, a digital badge, and a digital badge will be added to the school's page on Louisiana School Finder.

For additional information please contact

U.S. Senate Youth Program

Two Louisiana juniors or seniors will be chosen to attend the 61st annual U.S. Senate Youth Program) either in Washington D. C or online during the week of March 4-11, 2022. Upon completion of all on-site events or online meetings, these two delegates will each receive a $10,000 education scholarship. Juniors or seniors may qualify to apply through leadership positions they hold during the 2022-2023 school year per the USSYP official criteria for the current academic school year. All student leadership qualifying positions are subject to the judgment of the state selection administrator and will be verified and confirmedStudents nominated by their principals must submit an application and a portfolio of required information to the Louisiana Department of Education by Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Please read the National Brochure and Louisiana application packet for more information including eligibility requirements and the application process. State finalists will be notified by Wednesday, October 26, and delegates and alternates will be informed in mid-December of their selection.

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school students selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship. This is a recognition program, not a scholarship program. The 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion.

School systems can submit, for consideration, up to two students in the General Component and up to two students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Component. Application for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is by invitation only. Students may not apply individually to the program or be nominated by a school system. Only the Chief State School Office or YoungArts™ can submit nominations to the USDOE. 

In order to recommend students for nomination to the program, school systems are required to submit to the LDOE a parental release form for each nominated student and a nomination letter for each nominated student not to exceed one page for each student. The nomination letter must be sent on school or school system letterhead and signed by the school system leader. Full instructions may be found in the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar Program Information Guide.

Nomination letters are due to LDOE by 4 p.m. November 23, 2022. School systems should submit nominations to using the subject line: U.S. Presidential Scholar Program. Submissions that do not include the completed parental release form will not be accepted. It is recommended that school systems review the LDOE evaluation rubric prior to nominating students.

Please contact with questions.