2023 New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year Finalists!!

2023 New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year Finalists

We received some amazing nominees for our New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year campaign … nominated by parents, students, colleagues, neighbors, and friends … all who have made a difference in the lives of students and who motivate and inspire those around them. Selecting the top 10 finalists from all of the nominations proved to be a very difficult task.

A team of objective judges will determine the New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year from the 10 finalists below, and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 1st!

Top 10 Finalists

JoElle Gomez – Renew Schaumburg Elementary, Orleans Parish

{Nominated by :: Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} To the 2023 New Orleans Teacher of the Year committee, it is with great honor and privilege as well as a former educator, that I nominate Ms. Joelle Gomez as your teacher of the year 2023.
Ms. Gomez exudes the characteristics and commitment that has made her an excellent candidate for this honorable recognition.
Ms. Gomez has shown through her professionalism and passion what constitute an excellent educator. She inspires her students to be their very best in her daily creative lessons. The students are engaged in activities that inspires them to be analytical thinkers, using imagination, and instill within them a love of learning new concepts.
Collaboration with students, parents, co-workers and school administrators is vital to the classroom dynamics. Ms. Gomez incorporates Collaboration with students in her classroom that may be in a caring, compassionate environment preparation for future leaders.
Also, Ms. Gomez is very active outside her career implementing her time with community activities at her Church. She can be found working with the youth development on different occasions and projects.
Overall, Ms. Gomez continues to show dedication and commitment to her students by being a strong communicator, enthusiastic for her students, knowledgeable of her subjects, active listener, respectful attitude, inspiring hope and empathy.

Lori Lumpkin – St Andrew’s Episcopal School; New Orleans

{Nominated by :: Erik Alexander, Cat Bishop + Hundreds of other parents} Mrs. Lumpkin is pure magic. She radiates love, patience and dedication to her Kinderbear students at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She leaves a trail of sparkle wherever she goes. Each child she has taught bears the special mark of her teaching and example that they will carry with them throughout their lives. Every parent lucky enough to have their child taught by her adores her and mourns their child’s graduation from Kindergarten, while feeling so grateful to have had the Mrs. Lumpkin experience.

From the “Weekly Growl” newsletter filled with beautiful pictures and reports, to beloved Kinderbear traditions, such as Teddy the Guinea Pig, Friday’s Kinderbear Reader, St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, the Kinderbears on Parade, cooking activities, Bear-made Easter hats, Bear Scavenger Hunts, Chief-Executive-Bear of the week (complete with crown and special privileges), the Nesting Loft, Huggles, Bearmania week, Ice Cream and Alliterations, and so on, the Kinderbear year is magical with Mrs. Lumpkin. Our children truly grow and flourish academically, spiritually and emotionally under her loving care. Mrs. Lumpkin cherishes each child and highlights their strengths, while gently encouraging growth in areas where needed. A hug from Mrs. Lumpkin is something special indeed, even though they are given in abundance.

As parents we are grateful for the wonderful encouragement and advice she gives us, and forever cherish the keepsakes brought home by our Kinderbears, especially the handmade bear necklaces.

Mrs. Lumpkin is so dedicated to her Kinderbears that she drives over an hour each way, each school day, to lead her Kinderbears. Unfortunately, on a recent Friday morning while making her long commute to school, Mrs. Lumpkin was involved in a serious car accident that has left her with a long recovery. The entire school community is devastated, and her absence and pain hurts us all. Mrs. Lumpkin is herself devastated to miss out on the rest of the school year with her beloved Kinderbears and St. Andrew’s community. We know Mrs. Lumpkin will bounce back and return to her flock with flourish and sparkle, but in the meantime, we hope to show our eternal love and devotion by nominating Mrs. Lumpkin for Teacher of the Year.

Lydia Hill – Morris Jeff Elementary, Orleans Parish

{Nominated by :: Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Lydia goes above and beyond for her students. She was the best teacher to our son who is on the spectrum, she pushed him in the best ways and he learned so much. Lydia now teaching our youngest son who is gifted. She pushes him to grow with his learning styles. Both of our sons love her so much and hate to miss a day of school without her!

Michelle Bird – Academy Of Our Lady; District 2

{Nominated by :: Isabella Bankston, Meadow Gardner, & Aubrey Tizzard} Growing up, my mom was not in my life which caused me to look for that female role model in other aspects of my life. Many teachers have impacted my life, but the one who has impacted me the most is Ms. Bird. If I ever need help, I go to Ms. Bird. If I ever need to talk to someone, I can go to Ms. Bird. She is always there when a student needs her. Ms. Bird is the Art teacher at The Academy of Our Lady. She has created an environment in her classroom that has made me, and many other students, fall in love with art. Ms. Bird is like the mom I never had.

Academy of Our Lady’s art teacher, Ms. Bird, goes above and beyond to make her students feel happy, safe, included, and special. She does not judge students for their interest nor for their weaknesses in the area of experience. Ms. Bird not only helps students reach their full potential but she gives advice to encourage them. Without Ms. Bird I would not be where I am today. She made me excited for school and prepared me for life’s adventures.

Brittany McCormick – Warren Easton Charter High School

{Nominated by :: Nayriah Westerfield, Mila Reyes, Allyn Garriet} My wonderful ELA teacher Mrs.McCormick is the most caring and thoughtful teacher I’ve ever had. She makes me feel safe and it’s okay to tell her things, not only me but she makes sure every student is doing good. She’s so passionate about our education and wants us to be ready when it’s time to move up in life. When she’s having her tough days she always finds away to push through, we all go through something when she puts that smile on her face it just make makes me and everyone else happy. Yes school comes first of course but when you’re also having bad days Mrs.McCormick always makes sure to check up on because that just the type of person she is. Wish I could say more but there’s only so much. There’s no one else greater than Mrs.McCormick to win such a beautiful award like this, she really deserves it all. My school mother forever. Love you Mrs.McCormick

Maggie Doussan – HynesUNO – Edward Hynes Charter School

{Nominated by :: Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Maggie has spent her own time learning about dyslexia interventions to support and encourage her students’ growth of reading skills. She also kept a 4.0 in her Master’s Program AND coaches the pep squad! She is an impressive, kind hearted, talented dedicated teacher and mom.

Maggie Doussan has continued her own education, while teaching, while raising a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and joyful family. No easy feat. She is a pillar of the community and someone I am proud to call friend, this is who you want to teach your children!

You’d be hard pressed to find a teacher so committed not only to her students, but to the entire school community. She was awarded teacher of the year this year while completing her masters of education with a 4.0. She is on the leadership team in charge of community engagement as well as the coach of the pep squad. She is a firm believer in diversified instruction and her students are making gains across the board because of it. She deserves it!

Katelyn Delaune – Academy of Our Lady 4A District 10

{Nominated by :: Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Katelyn DeLaune is a mom and a teacher, and she perfectly juggles both. She is an amazing teacher and she feels more like a friend. She is a teacher I can always go to to talk about anything and I don’t feel intimidated to be in her class.

This teacher is very hard working and dedicated to making her students learn to the best of their capabilities. She pushes her students to their potential but still makes the classroom a fun place to be in. I look forward to coming in her class everyday and she just makes learning fun. She sets an example of what other classrooms should look like and making learning exciting.

Mrs. DeLaune is an amazing English teacher. She also has a yearbook class as well. She does a great job at helping all of us with our work and makes sure we turn it in on time. Her classes are always fun; they are never boring. She always encourages our creative influences on everything we write and I would not ask for a better teacher.

LeKesiah Washington – John Ehret Jefferson Parish School District

{Nominated by :: Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} LeKeisha is a Mom who is dedicated to her children and her children in her classes. LeKeisha believes in education for her children and expresses this to her students that they can follow their dreams. In the classroom, LeKeisha takes each child under her wing to help them understand the Class and the importance of why it is necessary for graduation.

She has a special way of connecting with the students in her classes. Her ability to be patient, understandable and relatable has aided in her success with educating and motivating the students. It’s because of her that more students not only show up for school everyday, but they are thinking about the future and going to college. We need more teachers like her to ensure a bright future for the next generation.

Kellie Muller – The Academy of Our Lady- Archdiocese of New Orleans

{Nominated by :: Mia Scott} Kellie Muller deserves to win New Orleans Mom’s Teacher of the Year because she truly treats each of her students like her own child. She has a special relationship with each student, including me. She listens to us when we have relationship problems, family problems, friend problems, school problems, etc. She also is an open book- she does not sugar coat things like most teachers do. She shares things about her life with us as well. With that being said, I have always struggled in math. Her class is the first math class I maintained an A average and even went into honors the next year. Her teaching style is unmatched. She cares about our feelings and our mental health. She understands that we need breaks and that everyone learns differently. Her class was always enjoyable and I always looked forward to her class. She motivated us in ways that no other teacher did. She has numerous fidget toys in her classroom for each student, has candy, keeps water for those who don’t have them, let’s her students show off their high test/ quiz board by letting them attach them to her bulletin board, and lets us rant to her about anything. She is my second mom and no one else deserves to win this award but her.

Alyssa Guitterez – Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy

{Nominated by :: Leigh Anne Schenck} Ms. Gutierrez has gone above and beyond this year for my son. Brady is in 6th grade and it is his first year in special Ed. Brady has ASD and adhd. She has helped Brady beyond words with his school work, his confidence and social settings at school. She has even attended his Christmas piano recital! She is constantly checking on him at school when she is not with him and even on the days that he has had to miss. She follows up with his other teachers in his regular classes on his assignments and tests. I could write 1,000 words about why she is so special to us!

Not only will the winner be crowned the 2023 New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year, but s/he will also win the fabulous prize package giveaway valued over $4,500 including:

    • You Are Loved cuff – in bronze – from Mimosa Handcrafted {value of $69}
    • Dysport Treatment – Up to 50 units at the Metairie location from Sanova Dermatology {value of ~$800}
    • $200 gift certificate to Symmetry Jewelers 
    • Four tickets to see “Bored Teachers” at the Mahalia Jackson Theater {value of $180}
    • Four tickets to see Monster Jam 2023 in New Orleans {value of $140} 
    • $200 Wardrobe Refresh shopping spree from The Purple Tiger Boutique {value of $200}
    • $75 gift card from Bra Genie
    • Free Beans from Blue Runner for a Year, plus some branded pencils and highlighters {value of $250}
    • Gift basket from PJ’s Coffee {value of $150}
    • a $500 gift card from VCB Photography which covers a family session fee and $300 worth of prints/digital image package {value of $800}
    • 8 class package from Momleta {value of $109}
    • One order of an edible classroom activity (a holiday sugar cookie kit for the entire classroom) from The School Bakery {value of $250}
    • $100 gift card to Rowan 
    • $75 gift card to Hello Sitter
    • 45 minute customized facial treatment and 60 minute customized makeup lesson for the Teacher of the Year from About FaceTo be used by 12/2023. Not exchangeable for cash value and it is non transferable. {value of $165}
    • “New Orleans Flavors” 3 Bags Gift Box from Parish Coffee {value of $30}
    • A personalized bag of the winners choice from Rosie Jean Designs {value of ~$66}
    • $75 gift card from Modern Vegan Mom 
    • One copy of Goodnight Pothole from Pelican Publishing {value of $20} 
    • $200 gift card from The Boulevard 
    • Gift basket with $50 gift card and swag from Faubourg Brewing {value of $120}
    • Lanyard and a wristband keychain from Lanyard Lovebirds {value of $40} 
    • Gift from Kendra Scott {value TBD}
    • Summer Ready Giveaway includes a Retreat Tote, Ivory Floppy Hat, and a Wine Tumbler from Monogram Express {value of $100}
    • Complimentary Treatment and Blowout + $150 in Aveda Products from Paris Parker {value of $250}

The fine print (please read in full before entering) :: Per the IRS guidelines, the winner will receive a Form 1099 from New Orleans Mom for tax purposes since the value of the giveaway package exceeds a value of $600. 


A team of objective judges will determine the New Orleans Mom Teacher of the Year from the 10 finalists below, and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 1st!


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