Jan 16, 2020

Council of Chief State School Officers to Announce Overall Winner in Spring 2020

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Education today announced Chris Dier, the state's current Teacher of the Year, is one of four finalists for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year award. Dier, who teaches history at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish, is the first Louisiana educator since 1989 to advance to this level in the prestigious national competition.

"Chris has spent his teaching career focused on equity, creatively and effectively bringing aspects of his students' identity and culture to the forefront of their education," said State Superintendent John White. "Louisiana is honored to have such a dynamic and deserving educator represent it on the national stage."

St. Bernard Parish School District Superintendent Doris Voitier said it has been inspiring to watch Dier's journey in public education. "From an outstanding student to being recognized as one of the best educators in the nation, Chris really exemplifies all that is good in our school system," she said. "His ability to connect with students from various backgrounds and abilities is a true testament to his compassion and professionalism."

Dier became a teacher to follow the legacy of his mother, a lifelong teacher. In high school, Hurricane Katrina uprooted him to Texas, where he finished high school and attended East Texas Baptist University.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Dier returned to his home parish to teach. Dier, a 10-year teaching veteran, teaches world history and AP human geography at Chalmette High School in Chalmette. Prior to being named the Louisiana State Teacher of the Year in July 2020, Dier was twice voted St. Bernard Parish District-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Dier's passion is deeply rooted in providing an equitable education to all students and supporting fellow teachers to be culturally responsive. His tenure as 2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year has focused on encouraging his colleagues to collaborate with students to eliminate prejudice and bias within the classroom. 

He has been featured in numerous publications and outlets for his work in the classroom and the community, most notably The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

Dier obtained Master of Arts degrees in teaching and educational administration from the University of New Orleans. He was also a Hollyhock Fellow at Stanford University, a program that brings educators together to create more inclusive classrooms. While at Stanford, he developed an equity project with the purpose of legitimizing student language. He now participates in a professional development program at Harvard Business School.

Dier authored "The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre: Blood in the Cane Fields," published by the History Press.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers, a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. The program identifies exceptional teachers nationwide, celebrates their effective work in and outside of the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national levels. 

The other three finalists represent Ohio, Montana, and Kansas. One of the finalists will be named the 2020 National Teacher of the Year this spring by the the 2020 National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The chosen educator will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

Learn more about the National Teacher of the Year Program.

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