May 28, 2024
Record 7,000+ educators become students this week in New Orleans for three days of professional learning in preparation for next school year 

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) --The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is bringing together over 7,000 educators to help the state move to its next level of academic success. Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley kicked off this week’s Teacher Leader Summit during an opening session this morning that included the live announcement of the Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists. This year’s event set an LDOE record for registered attendees. The 2024 Teacher Leader Summit is May 28-30 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“This week’s record attendance is proof of the excitement around where Louisiana education is headed,” said Dr. Brumley. “Our educators understand the importance of this moment for Louisiana students and are already focused on how they can improve for next school year.”

Dr. Brumley and Zearn Co-Founder and CEO Shalinee Sharma headlined the opening session with a conversation on why every kid is a math kid and how Louisiana is seeing academic progress with its approach to math instruction. Sharma is one of the world’s top experts on math learning.

Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year Finalists

Nine teachers and nine principals were named Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists live during the opening ceremony today. These 18 educators represent school systems across the state. The announcement was made by current Louisiana Teacher of the Year Kylie Altier and Louisiana Principal of the Year Tia Trahan.

“Each of these outstanding teachers and principals bring value to their profession,” said Dr. Brumley. “I want to congratulate them on this immense honor and look forward to celebrating all of our excellent educators this summer.” 

2025 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Finalists

  • Acadia Parish: Elise Boutin
  • Bossier Parish: Christopher Kourvelas
  • Calcasieu Parish: Dr. Suresh Chiruguru
  • Claiborne Parish: Hannah Sanders
  • Collegiate Academies: Nora McGann
  • Evangeline Parish: Jessica Marie-Capseta
  • Lafayette Parish: J. Joy Stalnaker
  • Ouachita Parish: Jennifer Callender
  • St. Charles Parish: Annette Blanchard

2025 Louisiana Principal of the Year Finalists

  • Beauregard Parish: S. Chad Schulz
  • Calcasieu Parish: Dr. Shonna Anderson
  • Central Community School District: Brandon LaGroue
  • DeSoto Parish: Amanda LaFollette
  • FirstLine Schools: Glenda Welch Baylis
  • Iberville Parish: Dr. Amanda Austin
  • Lafourche Parish: Dr. Decina Rodriguez
  • Red River Parish: Michael Beck
  • Vernon Parish: Jennifer Wilbanks

Overall honorees will be announced and all finalists and semifinalists will be honored at the 18th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala, which will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on the evening of July 27. This exciting event is co-sponsored by Dream Teachers.

Teacher Leader Summit is the LDOE’s annual professional learning conference. Educators from across the state start the summer by preparing for next school year. Teachers, school leaders, and system leaders participate in workshops centered on Louisiana’s back to the basics approach to education.