Aug 19, 2020

Orleans Parish, Grant Parish educators will spend year advocating for education initiatives

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Education announced that 2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Chris Dier and 2020 Louisiana Elementary Teacher of the Year Jessica Borland have been awarded the Louisiana Public Interest Fellowship for the 2020-2021 school year. The program allows recipients to spend a school year advocating for an education initiative of their choosing.

"An educator's impact reaches far beyond the classroom, and I'm excited to see the difference Chris and Jessica will make from this opportunity," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "By focusing on culturally responsive learning materials and support for new teachers, these teachers will shape our educational system for years to come."

Dier, who teaches AP U.S. History at Benjamin Franklin High in Orleans Parish, will work to build equitable, inclusive and culturally responsive content under the direction of the Louisiana Department of Education. The 2020 National Teacher of the Year Finalist will collaborate with students, teachers, administrators, cultural figures and other stakeholders to analyze existing curricula through a culturally responsive lens. His initiative will also seek to provide professional development on culturally responsive education and design a curriculum that ties history to current inequities.

"My passion is for students to experience teaching and learning that is culturally responsive and reflective to them, " said Dier. "This work should have a deliberate focus on diversity, equity and inclusion."

Borland, who teaches 4th-grade math at South Grant Elementary in Grant Parish, will focus on developing and implementing the New Teacher Academy: Leading for Success. Her work will help establish a culture that creates and supports effective teachers and will ensure equity of learning opportunities for all students. Along with developing a new teacher induction program, one of her goals is to offer educator training aligned with the needs of new teachers and leaders.

"The cornerstone of student achievement is having a well-qualified, effective teacher in every classroom," said Borland. "New Teacher Academy: Lead for Success will support new teacher development and growth through ongoing professional development and support by teacher leaders."

The Louisiana Public Interest Fellowship allows recipients to spend the upcoming school year advocating for a key education initiative of their choosing. These initiatives are aligned to the Department's priorities. Winners are chosen from the previous year's list of Louisiana Teacher of the Year Finalists. Previous winners include Tasha Jolivette-Jones of Iberia Parish Schools and Kimberly Eckert formerly of West Baton Rouge Parish Schools.

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