At the end of May, the Louisiana Department of Education announced the finalists for the Louisiana Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards. You may check out the list of finalists and semi-finalists at the following website: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/teaching/award-programs. I am excited that I will be able to meet each of these finalists next week.
I know that each of these great educators has gone through a strenuous process in order to be named a finalist for the Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year programs. This process has included essays, interviews, and even being filmed teaching. On June 21, 2016, all of the finalists will be meeting at the Louisiana Department of Education. They will be filmed answering interview questions along with being recognized during one of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meetings. The finalists will also learn more about the interview process and the awards ceremony during a special meeting that day. I have been asked to talk about the role of the State Teacher of the Year (STOY) and share my experiences as the STOY.
Over the next two following days, each of the finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges. This panel will include representatives from various education organizations, Dream Teachers, and other community stakeholders. I will be among the team interviewing the finalists for the Teacher of the Year. Many have already asked me about what I’ll be looking for in the interviews. Truthfully, I want to know the story of why each person became a teacher. I also want to know what they are passionate about in teaching and what motivates them to excel in this profession. I especially want to learn about their vision for education in Louisiana. It’s like the song, “If You Knew My Story,” from the musical Bright Star. I am eagerly looking forward to learning the story behind each of these amazing educators and hearing how each of these “Bright Stars” will elevate the teaching profession.