Founders Day Celebration

At a school-wide assembly today, The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) celebrated North DeSoto High School in DeSoto Parish Schools, Louisiana, for receiving the 2024 NIET Founder’s Award. It was recognized for its continued effort to strengthen instructional practices and sustained student successes. North DeSoto High School was selected from schools nationwide to receive the award, which includes a $50,000 grand prize.

Located just south of Shreveport, Louisiana, North DeSoto High School serves more than 800 students, nearly half of whom are economically disadvantaged. Through its partnership with NIET, the school has seen increased teacher and leader effectiveness and improvements in student achievement. With a focus on fostering teacher growth, Principal Tammie Phillips and her leadership team build their reflective and instructional skills while providing students with high-quality learning opportunities. 

North DeSoto High School received the Founder’s Award because it exemplifies NIET’s work with schools to develop teacher leaders, collaborate on successful instructional practices, and provide feedback and support to address teacher and student needs. Implementing these effective strategies – boosted by the support of DeSoto Parish Schools under Superintendent Clay Corley – has earned the school an “A” rating from the Louisiana Department of Education since 2015. For the past three years, North DeSoto High School has outperformed the state of Louisiana in the percentages of tests scoring “mastery and above'' on state assessments in all subjects combined. The percentage of tests scoring “mastery and above” increased by 13 percentage points from 2021 to 2023, compared to a three-point increase statewide.

“When it comes to being able to provide quality education for all students, we have a philosophy of ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ at North DeSoto High School,” said Phillips. “At the heart of that ‘we’ is our instructional leadership team and the impact of our shared leadership model.”

Read more about North DeSoto High School’s acceptance of the prize in the full press release.