The Louisiana Department of Education announced that Louisiana Teacher of the Year Chris Dier is one of four finalist for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Dier is a teacher at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, Dier is the first Louisiana educator since 1989 to advance to this level of the national competition.

“Chris has spent his teaching career focused on equity, creatively and effectively bringing aspects of his students’ identity and culture to the forefront of their education,” said State Superintendent John White. “Louisiana is honored to have such a dynamic and deserving educator represent it on the national stage.”

Dier became a teacher to follow the legacy of his mother, who was a lifelong teacher. When he was in high school, Hurricane Katrina moved him to Texas, where he finished and attended East Texas Baptist University. He has also obtained a master’s degree in teaching and educational administration from the University of New Orleans.

“From an outstanding student to being recognized as one of the best educators in the nation, Chris really exemplifies all that is good in our school system,” St. Bernard Parish School District Superintendent Doris Voitlier said. “His ability to connect with students from various backgrounds and abilities is a true testament to his compassion and professionalism.”

Dier has been twice voted St. Bernard Parish District-Wide Teacher of the Year.

“Dier’s passion is deeply rooted in providing an equitable education to all students and supporting fellow teachers to be culturally responsive. His tenure as 2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year has focused on encouraging his colleagues to collaborate with students to eliminate prejudice and bias within the classroom, ” a press release by the Louisiana Department of Education reads.

One of the finalist will be named 2020 Teacher of the Year during the spring. The winner will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for teachers and students.