Lake Charles teacher wins NAH Award

The following is a Press Release from the Lake Charles Charter Academy:

Executives from the Clarion Council and the Florida Charter School Alliance announced this week the winners of the New American Hero initiative, a teacher recognition program designed to highlight the success of high performing charter schools and reward those teachers who have made a significant investment in their students' lives.

The winners are charter school teachers from participating charter schools in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana who have been nominated by fellow teachers, administrators and parents within the school. Specific examples of unique teaching styles and/or student centered accomplishments of each nominee were considered and evaluated by a team of administrators. Each of the 28 winners won $1,000 and will be eligible to win the annual New American Hero of the Year $5,000 grand prize.

Lake Charles Charter Academy second grade teacher Mae Belle Smith has been selected as its 2012 New American Hero Award recipient. Smith has a master of arts degree in elementary education and nearly 40 years of teaching experience.

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that offer a choice for communities, parents, students and professionals that foster educational excellence in America. Parents of nearly two million students nationwide choose to send their children to charter schools every day and that number continues to grow rapidly because of charter schools' customer focused approach to public education that ensures tailored programs meet each child's needs. The success of charter schools is driven by the wave of highly ambitious and talented professionals who choose to dedicate their careers to providing instruction in an innovative environment that is free from the constraints that bind traditional public educators.

"I commend all teachers who are committed to going the extra mile and act as role models by putting students first," said David Alba, executive director of the Clarion Council. "The goal of New American Hero is to encourage a performance driven culture and provide excellent and innovative educational experiences for all students."

The New American Hero program is in its first year of implementation and is currently in 30 charter schools in three states. It is supported in its entirety by gifts from individuals, businesses and foundations. To learn more about the New American Hero program, how you can participate or to see a complete list of winners visit