Last week, we were proud to host the inaugural New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Award Gala at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. The New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Award is given to the teacher of the year from across NOLA Public Schoolsthe top 3% of educators in our city. You can find the full list of our teacher award winners here.

Each of these 90+ teachers got a $1000 classroom grant, fueled by the generosity of our sponsors, led by Entergy and the AllState SugarBowl, and the ticket and table purchases of gala attendees. 

With their support, we were able to treat educators, their guests, and their principals to amazing food (picture a raw oyster bar!), fun, and phenomenal music from The Soul Rebels, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, and DJ Raj Smoove.  It was a phenomenal event–with over 500 guests, we sold out of tickets. We’re proud to share a glimpse of the evening. You can check out a full photo gallery here and see highlights from our photo booth here and our step and repeat here.

At the event, we shared a video celebrating the accomplishments of our teachers:  

Our CEO, Dana Peterson, shared some reflections and gratitude for our teachers. We also got to hear from our lead sponsors and partners, Entergy, Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the College Football Playoff Foundation as well as from our NOLA-PS Superintendent, Dr. Avis Williams.

We were thrilled that the event generated buzz on social media, and that we received so much positive feedback in the days that followed.

One leader sent the following note: “I just wanted to offer my thanks and appreciation for the event last weekend. Our team had such an amazing time and our teachers can’t stop talking about how amazing it felt to be celebrated. They are wearing their medals at work today. I think this is single handedly the biggest thing we have done as a city to celebrate teachers and schools. I hope we can make it an annual event and we are happy to support as necessary to make that happen.”

Another wrote: “The NOETA GALA was phenomenal. […] Our teachers were treated as the professionals they are. I could not be more proud of our profession right now, and it’s celebrations like these that continue to motivate my team and me to continue to do better! Thank you to NSNO, committee members, sponsors, and all admin for the fantastic NOLA night.”

We’re so grateful for everyone that could join us on November 5th for the gala. Most of all, we are grateful for our educators. We know that you work so hard all year, and your impact on our children is profound. Thank you for your hard work, and thank you for joining us to celebrate. We look forward to seeing you all next year, and gathering to honor the next set of New Orleans Excellence in Teaching award-winning educators!

Anyone that is interested in sponsoring next year’s gala can contact Julie Bourgeois at

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