Award Programs

Teacher and Principal of the Year Programs

Meet the 2021 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. 

In September, the Department, in partnership with Dream Teachers, celebrated all state-level honorees and announced the 2021 Teacher and Principal of the Year State-Level Winners at the 14th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala, which was held virtually this year. 

The search is now on for next year’s Teacher and Principal of the Year honorees. Part of the selection process for naming the district and state-level winners includes recommendations from teachers, principals, district employees, parents, colleagues, and community members. If you know an outstanding teacher or leader, please submit a nomination and/or self-nominations. 

The nominations portal is open through October 16. At the end of the nominations process, the nominations will be sent to local school districts for their consideration in this year’s process.

To learn more about the current and previous Teacher and Principal of the Year honorees, visit the library.

The application materials for the 2020-2021 school year will be uploaded to the website in Fall 2020.

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

Teacher and Principal of the Year Library

Students of the Year Awards Program

Students of the Year Logo

The 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

US Senate Youth Program

Two Louisiana juniors or seniors will be chosen to attend the online U.S. Senate Youth Program held during the week of March 15, 2021. The exact timeframe of the program is to be decided. Upon completion of all online meetings these two delegates will receive a $10,000 education scholarship. Students may qualify to apply through leadership positions they currently hold per the USSYP official criteria for the current 2020-2021 academic year. If students are unable to hold leadership positions this year due to the pandemic, they can submit the position they held during the 2019-2020 academic year. All student leadership qualifying positions are subject to the judgement of the state selection administrator and will be verified and confirmed. Students nominated by their principals must submit an application and a portfolio of required information to the Louisiana Department of Education by Monday, November 16, 2020.

Please read the National Brochure and Louisiana application packet for more information including eligibility requirements and the application process. Finalists will be notified by December 4, 2020 and delegates will be announced by the Hearst Foundation at the beginning of February.

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 2021 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 U.S. Presidential Scholar Program Information Guide.

Nomination letters are due to LDOE by 4 p.m. November 13, 2020. 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.