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Thursday, September 23, 2021

CHS’s Tedesco Named 2022 Louisiana Teacher of the Year

Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Photo Courtesy of St. Bernard Parish School District

Contributed by St. Bernard Parish School District

St. Bernard Parish educator Annelise Cassar Tedesco was named the 2022 State Teacher of the Year at the 15th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Awards Gala on July 16, which was held virtually.

Cassar Tedesco currently serves as Vocal Music Teacher at Chalmette High School (CHS) and Music Director for CHS Voices, Chalmette High School’s Music Theatre and Vocal Arts program. She has taught at CHS since 2008.

Superintendent of St. Bernard Parish Schools, Doris Voitier, said Cassar Tedesco represents all that is good in public education.

“We have been blessed to have had Annelise in our schools for so many years both as a student and now, as an outstanding educator,” Voitier reflected. “Everything Annelise does is student centered and of the highest caliber. Her passion, professionalism, personality and love of music education is inspiring, and we are so incredibly proud of the work she has done and the opportunities she has created for our students and community.”

Cassar Tedesco was honored during the dream teachers virtual awards gala. She said she is thankful and humbled by this recognition and expressed her gratitude for the students who have been a part of her journey.

“Part of our mission is to build well-rounded, literate and intellectual performers in a classroom that resonates as a safe space — where creative student performance can thrive and take place in an inspired and authentic way,” Cassar Tedesco explained.

She is passionate about creating equal opportunities for enrichment and experience within the performing arts and about combatting not only financial and social poverty but emotional poverty as well. “I position our students to see how their performing arts training can connect to greater success in more traditional career paths, and I strive to empower them to know that where they live now is a stepping-stone to get them where they want to be tomorrow.”

An alumna of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools and valedictorian of Chalmette High School’s graduating class of 2002, Cassar Tedesco graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, summa cum laude. At CHS, she has coached multiple finalists in the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition. She has also traveled with students to competitions, performances and auditions in Chicago; Orlando, Fla.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and New York City, where her students have earned bronze and silver awards, multiple scholarships, and performed on the stage of the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Cassar Tedesco also sings professionally each week at Trinity Episcopal Church on Jackson Avenue. Most recently, she 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. Other 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 joins a long list of St. Bernard educators who have received state and national accolades. Chris Dier was named Louisiana’s 2020 State Teacher of the Year and national finalist, Jennifer Maldonado was previously recognized as a Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist while Catherine Randal, Denise Pritchard and Phyllis Diecidue are all recipients of the Milken Educator Award — an elite national recognition for outstanding teaching and leadership. Superintendent Doris Voitier has also been recognized in her leadership role, being named as the Louisiana Superintendent of the Year, a National Superintendent of the Year Finalist and the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

The St. Bernard Parish Public School District is one of the top performing districts in the state for both student achievement and teacher effectiveness. With a tradition of academic excellence, extracurricular achievements, and state-of-the-art facilities, parish public schools prepare all students to excel in college and career.

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