Dr. Anita Szombathelyi has been named the 2014-15 Louisiana State High School Teacher of the Year.
Szombathelyi is a mathematics instructor at Airline High School. She was named the school and Parish High School Teacher of the Year earlier this year.
Szombathelyi told the Press-Tribune in an earlier interview that she sees herself as more of an academic coach for her students.
“Teaching is about nurturing, guiding, setting high expectations and pushing them to be their best,” she said. “The best reward you can have as a teacher is when you have students come back and say thank you. So this is not honoring my work, but the students work. I couldn’t do it without my students, my fellow teachers and Airline High School.”
The Louisiana Teacher of the Year Program, which is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Dream Teachers, is an annual event designed to recognize and honor top performing teachers in the state.
According to the Dream Teachers website, the “selection criteria for the 2014 Teacher of the Year program has been updated to align more closely with Compass and Common Core.”
After teachers are chosen to represent their school and district, teachers from each LEA in the state, including charter schools, are then observed in their classrooms by a member of the state observation team.
Based on the feedback from the state observation team, the Louisiana Department of Education then selects the top five finalists for Teacher of the Year and submits them to the selection committee consisting of educators and community leaders. The committee interviews the finalists and selects their overall winner.
The winners are honored at the Educator Excellence Symposium and will represent Louisiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Szombathelyi previously said the awards are nice, but she doesn’t teach for special recognition.
“A teacher’s job is one of the most complex jobs ever,” she said in March 2014. “We do much more than teach. We are counseling, mentoring, guiding, and preparing them for life in any way that we can. It’s demanding – physically, emotionally and mentally – but very rewarding.”