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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – This has been a unique year for students and teachers throughout Louisiana.

Online teaching because of COVID-19 has forced teachers and students to adapt on the fly.

Now more than ever, recognizing the best teachers and principals in the state is a welcome distraction.

The Louisiana Department of Education declared 18 finalists from school systems throughout the state.

You can watch the announcement below:

The finalists are elementary, middle and high school educators.

The names of those educators are listed below:

Picture courtesy of the Louisiana Department of Education

“Congratulations to all of the finalists who are deserving of this incredible honor,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “Your excellence and dedication to your students and profession are commendable. As we’ve experienced the challenges of this year, it has become even more evident that having good educators is essential to the future of our students and our state.”