We all know that teachers are truly some of the most important people in our children's lives. And it's a profession that can be seemingly thankless at times.

That's why when the Lafayette Education Foundation (LEF) gives out their awards each year, it truly warms my heart.

After hundreds of  nominations, it came down to the 16 finalists last night at the 20th annual LEF Awards presentation at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette.

All of the finalists received the Hollywood red carpet treatment. As well they should and most definitely deserve.

On behalf of everyone here at Townsquare Media, we'd like to congratulate all of our fine educators and salute the finalists and winners from last night's amazing evening.

Elementary School Category: Becky Cade - James Wallace James Elementary School

Middle School CategoryJennifer E. Caillier - Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School

High School Category: Jacob Simon - Comeaux High School

Inspirational CategoryBeth Viator - Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School

In case you were wondering, the nominees were picked from outstanding K-12 educators in Lafayette Parish public, private and parochial schools. Educators were nominated by the students, parents, fellow educators and members of the Lafayette community.