Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - The United Way of Acadiana announced the four Lafayette Teacher Award winners during the final University of Louisiana Men's Basketball game of the season at the Cajundome.

The Ragin Cajuns played on Friday, March 1st and defeated Southern Miss 77 to 61. They weren't the only winners in the Cajundome that night.

Each year, Lafayette is invited to nominate outstanding educators who have made a real difference in the lives of their students. More than 5,000 nominations were received for 2,000 teachers, and 16 were selected as finalists in four categories:

  • Elementary school
  • Middle school
  • High school
  • Inspirational

The nominations written by students, parents, and the community are heartfelt and illustrate the dedication of each of these educators. Lafayette Parish children are fortunate to have a plethora of passionate people who are teaching them both necessary skills and how to be productive citizens.

Educators are entrusted with our most valuable resource. It's often a thankless job and is truly a calling because they aren't in it for the money. You can see how Lafayette Parish measures up to other parishes in Louisiana in the list below the photos.

In past years, the United Way and its predecessor who facilitated the awards would host a red carpet gala at the Heymann Center in Lafayette.

They decided to change it up this year by announcing the winners during a UL basketball game.

Teachers in Lafayette Parish still entered the Cajundome via the red carpet amid cheers from fans and volunteers. The 16 finalists were introduced and the winners named during half time.

The winning teacher in each category received a cash prize thanks to Meritus Credit Union.

United Way of Acadiana wishes to thank everyone who helped make this year’s Lafayette Teacher Awards a success including the presenting sponsor Love Our Schools.

Congratulations to the Teacher Award Winners!

Elementary School

Hannah Briggs of J. Wallace James Elementary School

Hannah Briggs
Facebook via United Way of Acadiana


Middle School 

Garrison Turner of L.J. Alleman Fine Arts Magnet Academy

Garrison Turner
Facebook via United Way of Acadiana

High School

Melanie Lowry of Lafayette High School

Melanie Lowry
Facebook via United Way of Acadiana


Asia Freeman of Lerosen Preparatory School

Asia Freeman
Facebook via United Way of Acadiana

How Much Teachers in Each Parish Make

You might be surprised to learn the highest paid teachers in the state are in northwest Louisiana.

The Best & Worst States for Teachers

It's back to school time!

Teachers and administrators all over the country are welcoming students back either in person or virtually. This will definitely be a challenging year being in person due to COVID cases and protocols that need to be in place to keep everyone safe.

Being a teacher is a huge responsibility. It can be very stressful, and sometimes that depends on the district where the teacher is employed. There are actually some states that are not that great for teachers.

Wallethub put together a list of the best and worst states for teachers. They look at things like opportunities for employment, competition, academics and work environments.

Gallery Credit: Tiffanywpst

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