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Amanda Warren followed her heart into education.
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Leah Jackson

NATCHITOCHES – Amanda Warren knew all her life she wanted to be a teacher. The daughter of teachers, she often played school in her mother’s classroom and although her parents suggested she pursue a different career path, she followed her heart into education.

“I love the joy on my students’ faces when they learn something and realize how much fun it is to learn,” Warren said. “I have so much energy and passion for teaching and that filters down to the students. It’s also rewarding when they take lessons home to work on and bring them back to share.”

Warren, a fourth grade teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School in Mandeville, was named Louisiana’s 2013 Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education last week. She is a 2009 graduate of Northwestern State University’s graduate program in Technology Leadership for K-12 teachers.

Warren earned her undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University in 2003 and will begin her 10th year of teaching this fall. She enrolled in Northwestern State’s master’s program, which is administered through the school’s College of Education and Human Development, upon the recommendation of colleagues who also completed M.Ed. degrees through similar programs at Northwestern State.

“I knew I wanted to focus on technology because I believe that is the future,” she said. “I was attracted to the program because I had the ability to complete the degree on-line and I enjoyed my professors.”

Warren is married to Joel Warren and the mother of two young children. She was one of eight regional finalists picked earlier this year for the recognition. She teaches a self-contained fourth grade class, which means she teaches all subjects to her class at Lake Harbor, a school with about 700 fourth through sixth grade students. She acknowledged her colleagues and her principal, Susan Patin, for their support.

“I come from a family of educators. I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher and I love it,” she said.

"Great teachers and great leaders are the heart and soul of great schools. These distinguished educators and administrators are a fine representation of the high-caliber professionals we are fortunate to have in Louisiana public schools," State Superintendent John White said. "Each of the educators we honored during the celebration of education represents the backbone of our educational system. They are shaping the lives of our children, and we all enjoy thanking them in this very special way."

Principals and teachers are selected based on their leadership and teaching skills, respectively, as well as their dedication and respect of students, parents and colleagues; demonstrated school and community leadership; affiliations with educational organizations; ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities; and their commitment to their profession.

Last year, April Jessup Giddens, who earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at Northwestern State, was the overall Louisiana Teacher of the Year.

For more information on graduate programs offered through Northwestern State’s College of Education and Human Development, visit or e-mail