Annelise Cassar Tedesco
Louisianian of the Year | Education
The word Chalmette native Annelise Cassar Tedesco, the 2022 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, most frequently mentioned in her interview was “community.” She strongly believes in the importance of forming a community at Chalmette High School with both her students and her fellow faculty members while serving the community as a whole.
“I’m so excited to return and invest in the community that invested so much in me,” Tedesco said.
The 37-year-old Tedesco, music director for CHS Voices and a vocal music teacher, has been teaching for 14 years. She is the daughter of two educators. While Tedesco initially went into marketing after graduating from Loyola University of New Orleans, she quickly felt a calling to try education. So she started teaching at her alma mater of CHS.
Tedesco said her goal as a teacher is to provide an academically rigorous classroom experience for her students while also providing opportunities for experiences where students can put their learned skills to use. Students participate in both solo and group vocal competitions, sometimes traveling to places like New York and Florida. They perform in musical theater productions like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Into the Woods.” They also sing in the community at events like Relay 4 Life.
For classroom procedures, Tedesco said she uses a combination of setting high standards for her students and working with them individually. Part of working with them as individuals is remembering that many things are going on in the students’ lives outside of the classroom, both at home and on social media. She also said leading by example is important, not just in teaching students the material but teaching the students how to act.
“Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage. We’re teaching kids how to perform on the stage of life,” Tedesco said. “We’re not only teaching content.”
For new teachers, Tedesco recommended collaborating with coworkers to avoid burnout or feeling overwhelmed. She said she has greatly benefited from the time, insight, and assistance of her colleagues at CHS.
“Remember that you’re not alone,” Tedesco said.
While she is proud to receive the 2022 Louisiana Teacher of the Year award, she said she is far from the only Louisiana educator doing exemplary work day in and day out at schools across the state.
“I am one of many who should be celebrated,” Tedesco said.