Awards for Teaching Excellence

Awards for Teaching Excellence Nomination Update

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, we all are adjusting our work routines and confronting the diverse challenges created by this public health crisis. In light of these disruptions, we are extending our deadline to nominate an educator for the 2021 Awards for Teaching Excellence through May 15, 2020.

If you already have an educator you would like to nominate, please feel free to begin the submission process at any point. Our application is currently live.

  • For those of you who have submitted applications on behalf of your affiliate previously, you should still be able to use the same log-in and password at this link.
  • If you need to create a new CyberGrants account, please reach out to Meghan Berka, for a link and access code unique to your state affiliate.

If you are concerned that your selection and/or nomination process will be delayed, please reach out to Meghan Berka at your earliest convenience, to ensure you are able to recognize an educator at our 2021 event.

If you have any questions at all or if there is any other way we can support your affiliate with this process, please do not hesitate to be in touch. Stay safe and take care.


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.

  • California Casualty awardees from around the country
  • NEA Foundation President and CEO Sara A. Sneed
  • NEA Foundation Honors Lily Eskelsen Garcia
  • Member Benefits Winner Alhassan Susso of Bronx, NY
  • 2020 Awardee for Outstanding Service Public Education
  • 2020 Horace Mann Awardees
  • Attendees
  • Attendees

How to Nominate

Each NEA affiliate may nominate one educator for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. You’ll find applications online from September through the May 1 deadline each year. 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 diversity (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.


These prestigious awards recognize, reward, and promote excellence in both teaching and advocacy for the profession. They also honor public education and the dedicated members of the National Education Association.

Awards Resources

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.

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