The Louisiana Department of Education announced the 2020 Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year at the 13th annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala held on July 19.
Christopher Mark Dier was awarded Teacher of the Year; he teaches World History and AP Human Geography at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish.
He attended East Texas Baptist University and studied history, political science, and psychology. Later, Dier obtained two Master's degrees from the University of New Orleans; one is in education administration and the other is in teaching.
He has been voted Teacher of the Year at St. Bernard Middle School and Chalmette High School. He was also voted Teacher of the Year and parishwide Teacher of the Year while at Chalmette High.
Dier is dedicated to providing an equitable and multicultural education to all who walk in his door.
The Principal of the Year is Jennifer Dennis Carey, who is the School Leader of KIPP East Community Primary in New Orleans.
Carey founded KIPP in 2014, starting with only 10 educators and 100 kindergarten students. The school has grown under her leadership; it now boasts 60 educators and 560 students from Pre-K to 4th grade.
She began working with KIPP New Orleans 12 years ago as a 5th grade reading teacher.
She worked for Teach for America and also taught 2nd grade in the Bronx in New York City.
Carey received a Bachelor's degree in political science from Emory University in Atlanta and a Master's degree in teaching from Pace University in New York City.
The department also named the 2020 State Elementary, Middle, and High School Teacher in Principal of the Year awards.
The 2020 Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Jessica Borland of South Grant Elementary School in Grant Parish; the 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year is Lisa Celestine Jack of Vidrine Elementary School in Evangeline Parish; and the 2020 High School Teacher of the Year is Emily Odgen of Rayville High school in Richland Parish.
The 2020 Elementary School Principal of the Year is Lisa Burns of W.T. Lewis Elementary School in Bossier Parish; the 2020 Middle School Principal of the Year is Tamika Green of Albert Cammon Middle School in St. Charles Parish; and the 2020 High School Principal of the Year is Carli Francois of Dutchtown High School in Ascension Parish.
All 2020 Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists and semifinalists were also celebrated at the event, along with Louisiana's Milken Educator Award winner and the Louisiana Association of School Executive's Superintendent of the Year. Stephanie Whetstone, of Bains Elementary School in West Feliciana Parish, received the Milken award, and Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Parish, was honored as the State District Superintendent of the Year.
The awards ceremony was held at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center in Baton Rouge where over 500 guests were in attendance.