Awards for Teaching Excellence

Celebrate the work of public school educators: Nominate an NEA member for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Each year, we invite all NEA state, federal, and direct affiliates to nominate one outstanding educator for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. All current members of an NEA local affiliate or bargaining unit are eligible, including teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff.

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How to Nominate

Each NEA affiliate may nominate one educator for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. You’ll find applications online from November 8 through the May 1. The Foundation notifies awardees and their affiliates of their status by the end of August. You’ll find detailed application information in these application guidelines.

Selection Criteria

Our panel uses five criteria to judge educators who are nominated by their affiliates:

  • Professional practice (15 points)
  • Advocacy for the profession (15 points)
  • Community engagement (5 points)
  • Attention to equity (10 points)
  • Professional development (5 points)

Each affiliate determines its own best process, reflecting due diligence, for selecting its awardee. The affiliate submits a single awardee’s name and qualifications to the NEA Foundation, consistent with the criteria described above.

The national selection panel chooses the five recipients of the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence from among the affiliate awardees. The panelists are appointed by the President and CEO of the NEA Foundation and the President of the NEA.

The Foundation invites the Horace Mann awardees to Washington for personal interviews with the national selection panel in July or August. Based on these interviews, the panel selects the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence recipient.

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Communications Toolkit

We’ve created a set of resources for state and local affiliate leaders to share the exciting news about your awardee. This toolkit includes:

  • Sample social media posts
  • A template press release
  • FAQs about the awards

We hope you’ll join us in recognizing these amazing educators.

Download the toolkit here (PDF).

Register by State

Download our PDF to find your state-specific registration link.

Sample Applications

Sample application: 2018 awardee Bobbie Cavnar

Sample application: 2017 awardee Sonia Galaviz


Promotional Tools

These downloadable promotional tools will help you gather nominations for state affiliates.