On January 16, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Education announced Chris Dier is one of four finalists for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year award. Dier is currently Louisiana state’s current teacher of the year and teaches history at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish. Since 1989, Dier is the first Louisiana educator to become a finalist in this national competition.
State Superintendent, John White, says “Chris has spent his teaching career focused on equity, creatively and effectively bringing aspects of his students’ identity and culture to the forefront of their education. Louisiana is honored to have such a dynamic and deserving educator represent it on the national stage.”
Dier’s decision to become a teacher was inspired by his own mother, a lifelong teacher. He was in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit, which relocated him to Texas, where he finished his high school diploma. After high school, Dier continued his education at East Texas Baptist University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.
Once he completed his bachelor’s degree, Dier returned to his home parish to begin his career. Now a ten-year teaching veteran, Dier teaches world history and AP human geography at Chalmette High School in Chalmette. Before being named Louisiana State’s Teacher of the Year in July of 2019, he was voted St. Bernard Parish District-Wide Teacher of the Year twice.
St. Bernard Parish School District Superintendent Doris Voitier, inspired by Dier’s journey in public education, said “From an outstanding student to being recognized as one of the best educators in the nation, Chris really exemplifies all that is good in our school system,” she said. “His ability to connect with students from various backgrounds and abilities is a true testament to his compassion and professionalism.”
Dier continued his education at the University of New Orleans, where he obtained Master of Arts degrees in teaching and educational administration. He also participated in a program at Stanford University as a Hollyhock Fellow that brings educators together in an effort to create inclusivity in classrooms. While there, he developed an equity project with the purpose of legitimizing student language. Now, he is in a professional development program at Harvard Business School.
Dier also wrote the book “The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre: Blood in the Cane Fields”.
The other three finalists are educators from the states of Ohio, Montana, and Kansas. In the spring of 2020, one of the finalists will be named National Teacher of the Year by the 2020 National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The winner of the title will spend the next year traveling the United States as an ambassador for education and as an advocate for teachers and students.
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