Across the country, great educators have been celebrated and honored this week as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week. We felt it was also the perfect time to surprise the 2016 winners of the New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Over the last month, we’ve reviewed close to 100 nominations highlighting the great lengths our city’s teachers go to serve their students.

Winners were selected not only on their ability to drive student achievement, but on their commitment to developing their skills as educators, how they build relationships with their students, and the impact they have on their school community.

While we had the immense privilege to honor each of the nine winners in their classrooms earlier this week, we also want to acknowledge all of the outstanding educators throughout our city driving New Orleans academic improvements.

See below for what some of the students of this year’s winners had to say about their teachers!

Tamara Durant: 11th Grade, English, KIPP Renaissance High School

“She has inspired me to grow in the three aspects of my identity: as a woman, as a member of the black community, as an intellectual. I’ve learned to become a leader. I’m going to Ms. Durant’s alma mater Howard University. I don’t think I would be in this situation without Ms. Durant.”

Tamara Durant


Brittany Smith: PreK-8th Grade, Music and Reading, Edward Hynes Charter School

“She’s been teaching us a lot about reading and fluency so we can get into second grade. She wants us to because she said she does not want to see anyone in her class again. That means we have to listen to her, respect her, and be confident in ourselves.”

Brittany Smith


Sylvia Crier: 9th-12th Grade, Social Studies, McDonogh 35 Senior High School

“She makes sure we leave her class with the most gained knowledge. She’s one of those kinds of teachers you are going to remember in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s. We learned about voting, presidential elections, things going on in your neighborhood, things going on in your city. Everybody talks about Ms. Crier.”

Sylvia Crier


Hannah Bunis: 3rd Grade, Akili Academy

“Ms. Bunis really changed my life. When I first went to first grade I didn’t know how to read, and at the end of the year I was reading everything, and I loved to read. I was spelling everything. I was teaching my brothers and sisters. I really love Ms. Bunis for that.”

Hannah Bunis


Lytana Wilbon: 4th Grade Math and Science, James Singleton Charter School

“She motivates me. She makes me really want to come to school. She helps me with my work before and after school. She’s way above the stars.”

Lytana Wilbon


Charles Harrison: 9th Grade, Algebra, Warren Easton Charter High School

“He’s going to make you work to do the work you don’t think you’re going to be able to do. He’s going to give extra help during school, out of school, breaks, anything. You can call him up, and he’ll give you more help.”

Charles Harrison


Kristi Walton: Kindergarten, Langston Hughes Academy Charter School

“She teaches us how to read. I love books. I love the book about frogs.”

Kristi Walton


Nicole Mayeux: 12th Grade +, Special Education, Cohen College Prep

“I have a lot of respect for her. And she is helping me with my mission. I want to be independent.  I want to move out. So she is helping me. And she is helping me with my driver test!”

Nicole Mayeux


Gregory Sextion: 6th and 8th Grade, Science, Samuel Green Charter School

“He brings greatness to Green Charter. The way he teaches–he makes sure he gets to every person independently and all together as a class. He puts groups together that he knows are going to build up the classroom.”

Gregory Sextion

Congratulations to our New Orleans Excellence In Teaching Award winners!  And, thank you to all of the teachers in our city working hard every day on behalf of their students!


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