Elevating Education: The Star Academy Summit 2023


In the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 19-20, 2023, over 50 educators from across the nation gathered for the 4th annual Star Academy Summit. Hosted by NOLA Education, this event proved to be a testament to the power of continuous learning and collaboration in education. Under the theme Elevate, participants embarked on a two-day journey of knowledge exchange and relationship building, all aimed at becoming the best versions of themselves as educators.

The Summit showcased the commitment of educators to their craft and the students they serve. It is a reminder that in the ever-evolving landscape of education, we are all lifelong learners. Just as our students continually strive for knowledge, so must we, their guides and mentors, pursue growth, adaptation, and personal development.

Summit attendees partake in a team-building activity

The theme “Elevate” was not just a slogan but a powerful call to action, resonating throughout the Summit. It encouraged participants to transcend the ordinary, push the boundaries of what is achievable in education, and rise to the occasion as the very best versions of themselves, both personally and professionally. This overarching message set the stage for a Summit teeming with inspirational sessions and collaborative discussions.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, educators like April Bixler from Haywood Middle School in Tennessee expressed their gratitude for the innovative approach of Star Academy, stating, “Star Academy has given me the opportunity to teach in a way that better reaches students in a way that a textbook cannot.” Karen Thierry from Mamou Junior High in Louisiana shared similar sentiments, reflecting on their first year implementing Star Academy by saying, “We are learning and adapting when and where needed and doing what it takes to make it work.” This invaluable feedback from the educators underscored the importance of being adaptable and responsive to the ever-evolving needs of both teachers and students. The Summit served as a crucial platform for educators to share these experiences, providing tools and meaningful discussions across the network of Star programs to exchange best practices and foster ongoing learning opportunities.

Star Academy first year educators are recognized during the Krewe of Astraea recognition ceremony

One of the most anticipated moments of the Star Academy Summit was the recognition of the 2023 Grand Marshal award. NOLA Education, a New Orleans-based company, takes pride in celebrating the unique culture of the city, and the Krewe of Astraea ceremony is one such manifestation of this. The ceremony recognizes the contributions of educators within Star Academy based on years of service.

Each year, a Grand Marshal is selected, much like the leaders of Mardi Gras parades. The finalists for this prestigious title included educators Dylan Harris (Explore Academy), Christel Smith (Choices Learning Academy), Jessica Olivier (Jefferson Parish), Melissa Harris (The Pathway School), Denise James (Guinyard-Butler Middle School), and Crissy Klober (Magnolia Middle School).

It was with great enthusiasm that Crissy Klober was announced the 2023 Grand Marshal. Her outstanding contributions to Star Academy earned her this well-deserved honor. The 2022 Grand Marshal, Sharianita Robinson, presented Crissy Klober with her symbolic mask, signifying her role as a leader of Star Academy educators dedicated to transforming the lives of students.

The 2023 Star Academy Summit was an event filled with inspiration and learning. Educators from across the nation came together to elevate their understanding, their teaching strategies, and their commitment to their students. With a strong emphasis on collaboration, innovation, and growth, the Summit demonstrated the dedication of Star Academy educators to the pursuit of excellence in education. As they continue to strive for the best in themselves, they are sure to inspire a generation of learners to do the same.

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