Four of the eight educators honored as Louisiana’s best earlier this year received degrees from the University of Louisiana.

Louisiana’s Teacher of the Year Julia Williams, Superintendent of the Year John Bourque, Middle School Teacher of the Year Debbie Reed and Principal of the Year Mary Ellen Donatto are all UL alums. All eight educators honored during the fourth annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration are graduates from universities in the UL System.

“The educators honored during this very special event represent the high-caliber and devoted teachers, principals, administrators and staff who teach and nurture the 650,000 student who are enrolled in our public schools, and I am delighted we take time to celebrate them with these well-deserved distinctions,” said Keith Guice, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education president. “We cherish their dedication and talent. Likewise, we are fortunate to garner the support of business and community leaders, who also recognize the value of these outstanding educators and who generously contribute their resources to make this extraordinary event possible.”

Williams was selected from 24 Regional Finalists for Teacher of the Year, who were also honored during the event.

Teacher and principal of the year regional finalists received a certificate for one night’s stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel; four gallons of ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries; a restaurant gift card for dinner for two; and a $500 check from Dream Teachers.

The state-level winners of the teacher and principal of the year competitions received Community Coffee for one year in the principal lounge; a CPS 32 pad Pulse set and a mobile interactive whiteboard from e-Instruction; a summer’s supply of drinks and a cooler from Coca-Cola Bottling; a classroom set of Active Expressions from AIX Ed Solutions; four tickets to Blue Bayou Water Park, compliments of Coca-Cola Bottling; a book from Barnes and Noble; two tickets to the Baton Rouge Little Theater; two tickets to a music concert from the New Orleans Arena; four tickets to Audubon Zoo or Aquarium; a $50 gift certificate from Whole Foods; and a $2,000 check from Dream Teachers. The overall teachers of the year for each grade level will also receive a laptop from Dell Computers.

In addition to the Mercedes, Williams received two-round trip airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States, courtesy of Baton Rouge Metro Airport; four-day car rental from Enterprise Rent-A-Car; jewelry, compliments of Cohn Turner; and a SMART Board™ 685 with UX60 projector – an interactive whiteboard system, complete with document camera, SMART interactive response system (one class set – 32 units), technology training, and software, valued at more than $17,600, from SMART Technology.

Dream Teachers, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 for the purpose of recognizing Louisiana’s finest educators and educational leaders and to encourage educational excellence, served as presenting sponsor of the event.


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