2023 Red Stick Mom Teacher of the Year Finalists!

2023 Red Stick Mom Teacher of the Year Finalists!

We received some amazing nominees for our Red Stick 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 Red Stick Mom Teacher of the Year from the 10 finalists below, and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 1st!

Top 10 Finalists 

Hermeisha Mosby – EBR Readiness, East Baton Rouge

{Nominated by Janaiya Kensie & Yalonda Powell} She is a great teacher and dedicated to her students she goes above and beyond for students. These are children who society has deemed bad students but she doesn’t treat them that way she instills in them to do better

Taylor Foss – Westdale Heights Academic Magnet East Baton Rouge Parish

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & Co-Workers} Besides being awarded teacher of the year 2022 from the school, Ms. Foss attends and participates in after school events such as dances and talent shows. She encourages her kindergartners to share their thoughts and feelings in ways that are appropriate for their setting, and learning social skills is so important at this age. My child has learned, besides how to read and write, that school is important and ENJOYABLE! Ms. Foss gives her all, with a smile. She keeps us up to date with the cool activities the class does, sharing pictures and comments through application posts (made outside of work hours). She has parents visit to share talents and to experience class celebrations. Beyond all this, she serves our community in organizations unrelated with the school! She is a true blessing to our city’s children, parents, and citizens. We should do everything we can to keep her happy at home in BR.

Kristina St. George – Episcopal School of Baton Rouge

{Nominated by :: Amy Delaney} Kristina is this year’s Episcopal School of Baton Rouge Middle School Newton Distinguished Faculty Award winner. Each year, school administrators recognize three talented and thriving faculty members with the award. The recipients are selected annually and awarded a stipend to support their continued professional development.
Kristina teaches eighth grade World Geography. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in education from Northwestern State University. She began her teaching career in East Baton Rouge Parish schools in 2007. After living abroad in Saudi Arabia for three years, she joined the Episcopal faculty in 2017. She loves to travel and has visited over 30 countries throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Kristina is excited to share her international experiences and hopes to encourage global perspectives in her students.
“If I told you that your child, niece, nephew, or family friend was enrolled in a class where they would learn to understand other points of view, discuss complex topics, and think for themselves about how our world is changing, you would certainly be pleased with the education they were receiving,” wrote Middle School Division Head Mark Engstrom. “Kristina ensures that all of her students learn those skills and she does it in a compassionate and supportive manner. We are lucky that every 8th grade student at Episcopal gets to have her as a teacher.”
An avid traveler, Kristina draws on her own experiences to enrich her geography lessons. Engstrom says there is also another side to Kristina beyond the classroom. “She has performed the dance, the Freeze in front of our students, been a consistent chaperone at Middle School dances for years, and even jumped off the Mo Pole at Mo Ranch,” says Engstrom. “She not only discusses with students getting out of their comfort zones, but Kristina also shows them what it means to live an intrepid life.”

Sydney Brignac – Juban Parc Elementary and Livingston Parish

{Nominated by :: Carlee Hurley, Paul Brignac, Ashley Manno & Melanie Scott} Sydney is a special education elementary school teacher for Juban Parc Elementary. The kids she inherited were struggling from frequent teacher turnover. Sydney always goes above and beyond for her kids. Her kids have made massive strides in their behavior and education. Her job doesn’t end when she gets home either. She spends her evenings planning and figuring out the best way to maximize her kids’ education. Her kids have shattered expectations and have achieved goals that were believed to be impossible to reach. The difference she has made in her kids lives can not be understated. If you ask her coworkers, paraprofessionals, principal, or especially her kids’ parents they will all tell you that she is completely dedicated to her kids and will do everything in her power to make sure her class thrives. She has been blessing to the Livingston Parish school system and the world is lucky to have her teaching our youth.

Shedonna Martin – Basis Mid-City East Baton Rouge

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Ms Martin is the type of teacher when an adult looks back and wonder why they made it, she’s the reason why. She’s the type of teacher that the kids come to school and want to do better to make her proud. She is the definition of passion and dedication. My son came 3rd grade struggling to read and now he is reading chapter books faster than me. Because of Ms Martin my son has a passion to learn all types of history. She is the mom and aunty of the school and make sure all the children are on the right track. Although my son is in 3rd grade, when he is walking across the stage receiving his PhD she will be listed on the section of thank you’s!

Kristen Avocato – Galvez Middle School, Ascension Parish

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Mrs. Avocato is the most hard working and dedicated teacher and mom that i know. She is the best cheer coach and teacher. She knows how to juggle school and cheer while also putting her family first.

She always works her hardest through hard times. She also cares very much about her students and puts all of her heart into teaching.

Mrs. Avocato has always put forth every piece of effort that she needed to make sure all of her students succeed. She’s very patient and kind. She does everything possible to keep her students in check and is so humble! Her class makes me want to be at school and she inspires me so much!

Emily Richard – Episcopal School of Baton Rouge

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers}  Emily Richard is a well deserving candidate for the Red Stick Mom’s Teach of the Year. The list of reasons is quite long, but in efforts to not write a novel, I’ll keep the list to three main points:
1. Emily is a Pre-K3 teacher at Episcopal, but her impact to Episcopal’s students are felt at every grade level (see item 2 below). Emily is the grade level chair for Pre-K3 where she provides input and guidance to other lower school leaders to improve curriculum, child interaction, and family experience for these students and families. Emily also lead the first “step-up” camp for Pre-K3 in the summer of 2022, which provides a transition period for these students and families, who many is their first time in an academic setting, to acclimate to life at Episcopal prior to the school year commencing.
2. Emily is also the head coach for the middle school and upper school tennis teams. In this role, she coaches and teaches students not only on the game of tennis, but also life lessons, such as teamwork, accountability, and honoring commitments. Emily also provides lessons outside of school to some of these students, further demonstrating her commitment to helping each player succeed to their highest potential. Being a head coach for middle and upper school, along with being a teacher (and often times providing early care to students), Emily’s work days are often 11-12 hours a day and are all dedicated towards educating and bettering the children she works with in the classroom and on the tennis courts.
3. Emily has also won the Newton award for lower-school. This is a prestigious award given to three faculty members each year who demonstrated ex. Key factors contributing to this award was Emily’s dedication to furthering her knowledge of early childhood development by attending national conferences and providing presentations to her fellow faculty on the latest updates in early childhood education and emerging trends. For example, Emily attended a national conference that focused on and how to best cope with the current “burn out” educators are facing across the nation. Emily absorbed this information, along with her experience, and crafted a presentation to share with her fellow faculty in lower school. The response and reaction to her presentation was exceptional and emotional, as many teachers connected with Emily’s presentation on the challenges our educators are facing.
These are only a few of the reasons why Emily is deserving of this award, but as outlined above, her impact on her students, their families, and faculty at Episcopal have been outstanding over the past year.

Donyella McVay – North Iberville Elementary Iberville

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Ms. McVay has the heart of gold for our prek4 babies. Ms.McVay lost her daughter about 1 year ago and been having a hard time but because our children she’s able to still move forward with her beautiful, intelligent, smart brain and do what she love. We at North Iberville Elementary love our teacher and to see her deal with loosing her daughter, we as family sticking with her why she deal with such difficult time.

Alyson Breaux – Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School

{Nominated by Multiple Parents, Students & CoWorkers} Alyson has the passion to teach her children with the desire to make sure that all of her kids understand the schoolwork. She makes sure to learn about each child and what is the best way to reach each. Her kids and kids from other classes talk about how they all want to be in Alyson’s class. Alyson spends endless hours preparing her lessons to the extent that substitute teachers have raved how easy it was to fill in for Alyson.

Ruth Linder – St. Thomas More, Diocese of Baton Rouge

{Nominated by :: Jesse Linder, Patricia Lowry, Lucie Carter, and Lauren Junot} My wife, Ruth, is the best mom and teacher. Everything that she does in parenting- and in teaching- is centered about the kids, the lessons they can learn, and the fun they can have. Our own children are her pride and joy, and they’re thriving because of the example she sets for them daily. Her classroom kids are our bonus kids, and they benefit daily from her hard work, positive attitude, and loving disposition. Ruth works hard all day from start to finish, then comes home and gives her all to our family. My wife loves teaching, even when it’s tiring, and you would never know if she is unhappy. She keeps her smile that can light up and room, and the kids- our own and her class- love her for it.

Not only will the winner be crowned the 2023 Red Stick Mom Teacher of the Year, but s/he will also win the fabulous prize package giveaway valued at ~$2,200 including:

  • You Are Loved cuff – in bronze – from Mimosa Handcrafted {value of $69}
  • $250 SkinCeuticals Skincare Giftbag from Sanova Dermatology 
  • Four tickets to see Monster Jam 2023 in New Orleans {value of $140} 
  • 2 passes to a two hour open class from Painting & PinotNot valid for private parties, fundraisers, or Paint your Pet classes {value of $70} 
  • $50 gift card from Rice & Roux
  • $75 gift card from Bra Genie
  • Free Beans from Blue Runner for a Year, plus some branded pencils and highlighters {value of $250}
  • $50 worth of products or services from the salon, plus a $50 gift card to a local restaurant from Pigtails & Crewcuts {value of $100} 
  • Jambalaya, Gumbo, Yellow Rice and One Pot Seasoning + fork earrings from Jambalaya Girl {value of $25} 
  • “New Orleans Flavors” 3 Bags Gift Box from Parish Coffee {value of $30}
  • One copy of Goodnight Pothole from Pelican Publishing {value of $20} 
  • 10 Class Package from Evolve Studios {value of $220}
  • 30 minute virtual consultation from Chaos Organizing {value of $200} 
  • Lanyard and a wristband keychain from Lanyard Lovebirds {value of $40} 
  • Earrings, bracelet, and necklace from Jolie Blon Jewelry {value of $125}
  • Gift card for permanent jewelry from LuLu Designs {value of $75}
  • $150 gift card from Rouses 
  • Gift from Kendra Scott (value TBD)
  • $75 gift card from Sweet Baton Rouge {value of $75}
  • 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 Red Stick Mom for tax purposes since the value of the giveaway package exceeds a value of $600. 

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


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