The Louisiana Department of Education announced the 2022 Louisiana Teacher and Principal of the Year at the 15th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala, which was held virtually the evening of Friday, July 16, 2021. Annelise Cassar Tedesco of Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish was named the 2022 State Teacher of the Year. Marco French of Queensborough Elementary School in Caddo Parish was named the 2022 State Principal of the Year.
“Congratulations to Annelise and Marco for being recognized as the very best at what they do in our state. I’m proud to have them represent Louisiana,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “As we lead through this pandemic, our families should be comforted to know we have educators like the many we recognized tonight who are serving their children.”
2022 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year: Annelise Cassar Tedesco
Mrs. Annelise Cassar Tedesco currently serves as vocal music teacher and music director for CHS Voices, Chalmette High School’s music theatre and vocal arts program. She has taught at Chalmette High School since 2008. An alumna of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools and valedictorian of Chalmette High School’s graduating class of 2002, Annelise graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, summa cum laude.
At Chalmette High School, she has coached multiple finalists in the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition. She has also coordinated and traveled with students to competitions, performances and auditions in Chicago, Orlando, Syracuse and New York City, where students have earned multiple awards and scholarships and performed on the stage of the New Amsterdam Theatre. She also serves as music director for St. Bernard’s Performing Arts Academy. Annelise works to create a more vibrant, student-centered environment, which has created equitable learning opportunities for all.
No stranger to the concert or theatrical stage herself, some of her performance credits include Mahler for the Children of AIDS and Beethoven for the Indus Valley, two benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall to raise funds and public awareness for global pediatric AIDS and victims of the 2010 Pakistani floods, respectively. She also maintains her professional singing career on a weekly basis at Trinity Episcopal Church on Jackson Avenue. Most recently, Annelise was honored to be the soprano soloist for Handel’s Messiah in a collaborative concert with musicians from the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Chalmette High’s own CHS Voices Varsity Chorale.
2022 Louisiana State Principal of the Year: Marco French
Mr. Marco French proudly serves as principal of Queensborough Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana. Being taught the importance of pride, dignity, and dedication led French to accomplish transformative work throughout his career. French started this journey as a substitute teacher at Atkins Elementary in 2003. In January 2010, he pursued a career in education and, once certified, he used his faithfulness, perseverance, and resilience to become a force for good within his school and district.
Named principal of Queensborough Elementary in 2017, a low-performing school that was facing state takeover. Despite the challenges of high mobility rates, poverty, and a crime-stricken neighborhood, French accepted no excuses. He worked diligently in establishing relationships with the community and his students, and within two years, the community invested in the school once again, improving the neighborhood. Under French’s leadership, the school experienced tremendous growth as evidenced by being removed from the state’s academically failing list, receiving recognition as Louisiana’s Outstanding School, and ranking #1 of the top ten high-performing schools for 3rd grade literacy progress and growth in 2019. Queensborough was also recognized for having the highest growth in the district with a 93.7% progress index and a school performance score increase of 8 points. French received his Bachelor of Science in Education from Grambling State University and earned his Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University.
2022 State Elementary, Middle, and High School Winners
In addition to announcing the overall state winners, the Department named the 2022 State Elementary, Middle, and High School Teacher and Principal of the Year winners.
The 2022 Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Kaitlyn Richard of South Beauregard Elementary School in Beauregard Parish, the 2022 Middle School Teacher of the Year is Ernest Hill of Holly Ridge Elementary School in Richland Parish, and the 2022 High School Teacher of the Year is Brittini Matthews of Zachary High School in the Zachary Community School District.
The 2022 Elementary School Principal of the Year is Karen Robertson of West Leesville Elementary School in Vernon Parish, the 2022 Middle School Principal of the Year is Jeremy Muse of Lake Elementary School in Ascension Parish, and the 2022 High School Principal of the Year is Ronnie Harvey, Jr. of Washington/Marion Magnet High School in Calcasieu Parish.
2022 Teacher and Principal of the Year Programs
In partnership with Dream Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Principals, the Department annually recognizes and celebrates some of the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs. These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge teachers and leaders who are making exceptional gains with students.
School systems from across the state submitted nominations to the state-level Teacher and Principal of the Year process. All Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists and semi-finalists were celebrated and honored at the virtual awards gala. To learn more about the current and previous Teacher and Principal of the Year honorees, visit the Awards Program page.