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JP Schools Announces 2024 Teacher of the Year Winners

Jefferson Parish Schools (JP Schools) named its district winners for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Teachers of the Year program. These individuals are now eligible to compete at the state-level to become the 2024 Louisiana Teacher of the Year.

This year’s honorees for JP Schools Teacher of the Year include: Lauren Landry, Joseph C. Moscona School; Mevlida Turkes-Habibovic, Tom Benson School; and ar Imari Red-Bingley, West Jefferson High School.

In partnership with the Louisiana Association of Principals and Dream Teachers, the Louisiana Department of Education annually honors the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher of the Year program. The award recognizes those teachers whose work has made a significant impact on their school community.

Lauren Landry, Joseph C. Moscona School: Lauren Landry is the school librarian at Joseph C. Moscona School, a PK-8th grade school in Metairie, LA. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Orleans in 2009 and taught both special education and general education in elementary grades for over a decade. Landry then returned to school and earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree and Graduate Certificate in School Librarianship from Louisiana State University in 2021. Now in her second year as a school librarian, Landry strives to increase her students' reading interest and ability through instruction that centers on high-quality, diverse children's literature; themed book displays; access to authors through virtual visits; reading challenges; readers' advisory; access to a modern, engaging library collection; participation in the state award nomination process; and more. Landry is the founder and coordinator of two literacy initiatives: Amazing Books for Cardinals and Riviere Readers. These programs were created to distribute free books to students to boost their home libraries given both the anecdotal evidence that having books is important to building one's interest in reading and research that demonstrates access to books in the home increases student academic achievement. After 5 years, she has managed to disseminate nearly 30,000 books to students at both Marie Riviere Elementary, her previous school, and Moscona. Landry works tirelessly to support the school community and is grateful that she is given the opportunity to foster relationships with every student and staff member.

Mevlida Turkes-Habibovic, Tom Benson School: Dr. Mevlida Turkes-Habibovic teaches 7th and 8th grade Social Studies at Tom Benson School in Kenner, LA. She is a certified social studies teacher, a certified mentor teacher, a social studies Content Leader Fellow, a National Institute for Excellence in Teaching certified evaluator, and a 2022-2023 Teacher Leader Advisor for social studies instructional material review. She also served as a teacher leader fellow for two years. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sarajevo (2001), her Master of Science from Mississippi College (2009), and her Doctor of Philosophy (2011) from the University of New Orleans. 

Dr. Turkes-Habibovic's effective teaching practices correlate with her student achievement. Her students demonstrated exceptional gains, evident by the most recent VAM scores, the 2021-2022 (95th percentile) and the 2018-2019 (88th percentile), and her highly effective final evaluation ratings for the past three years. She believes that student success is not only defined by academic achievement but also through the positive influence on our society. Committed to making a difference in our community, she has been helping students to become informed and engaged citizens by building skills needed for success beyond school. In 2019, her students took initiative to propose and implement a fundraising project for new Bottle Filling Stations. She inspired them to be positive and solution oriented. Even though, their effort was interrupted by the school closure, the project was completed with the help of generous people. Currently, her students are being empowered to make a positive change by participating in the "Get in the Scrap" national service-learning project about environmental stewardship. 

Imari Red-Bingley, West Jefferson High School: Imari Red-Bingley is a four-year certified teacher at West Jefferson High School in Harvey, LA where she takes immense pride in being a member of the West Jeff village, and the department head of the English courses. Red-Bingley is a graduate of the illustrious Howard University (2019) where she received a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education, and she is currently pursuing a Master's of Arts at Xavier University of LA in Educational Leadership. She collaborates daily with learners and school leaders to advance the education of students in her 10th grade English course. Red-Bingley has persevered through many obstacles during her time in education - covid, hurricanes, and virtual learning - however, her commitment to enhancing her students' learning experience through the unexpected chaos of life is reflected in her stellar standardized test scores. Red-Bingley's mission is to make all students feel valued, seen, and capable of learning as she employs culturally relevant pedagogy techniques to make her classroom a safe haven for learners of all backgrounds, and to prepare them to develop into global citizens who will carry confidence in any room they encounter. In addition to being a member of The West Jefferson Instructional Leadership Team, Red-Bingley serves as the head cheerleader coach and the sponsor for the royal West Jefferson homecoming court. Dedicated to helping all students succeed in all ways possible, Red-Bingley considers her mission to serve as a mentor for students to reach their full potential and realize that they are capable of anything.