Vermont-NEA Award for Teaching Excellence
Vermont-NEA believes that all students deserve the highest quality education and that the single most essential ingredient is a caring, competent, and qualified teacher who is supported by skilled and committed school support staff. Expert teachers who understand both the subjects they teach and the children they teach make the most important difference in student achievement.
Therefore, Vermont-NEA will select and honor one of its active members each year in order to celebrate teaching excellence, public education, and our dedicated school workforce. The Vermont-NEA Award for Teaching Excellence will be presented annually.
The Award, which carries with it a $1,000 cash prize, will recognize, reward, and promote excellence in public school teaching and underscore high standards of service to students and to the teaching profession. The winner will represent Vermont in the national competition for the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, which pays the winner $25,000.
A $1,000 cash award, a commemorative plaque, recognition at the annual Vermont-NEA Awards Dinner prior to the Association’s Representative Assembly, and submission of the awardee’s nomination materials to the NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education for national consideration as Vermont’s nominee that year for the annual NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.
All active teacher and Education Support Professional (ESP) members of Vermont-NEA. [Vermont-NEA statewide officers and Board Directors are ineligible for this award during their years of service on the Board.]
Who May Submit Nominations:
Any active Vermont-NEA teacher or ESP member, or any NEA-Retired /NEA-Student member from Vermont.
Deadline for Nominations:
All nomination materials must be submitted in hard copy by or before February 15. Nomination materials must be received at the Vermont-NEA office by 5:00 p.m. and may not be submitted electronically or by facsimile.
Selection of the award recipient will be made at the state level by the Vermont-NEA Teaching Excellence Award Selection Panel. The Panel will be comprised of two statewide officers, three at-large Board Directors, and two local affiliate teacher leaders/members. The Panel will read and evaluate all nomination materials, will interview the finalists, and may arrange for classroom visitations. Finalists also may be asked to provide additional information and materials. The Panel will inform the Vermont-NEA Board of Directors of its recommendation no later than the Board’s March meeting, and the Vermont-NEA Board will take official action on the Panel’s recommendation.
Nominations are judged according to the criteria listed below.
1. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE:
The nominee demonstrates instructional expertise, creativity, and innovation. The nominee uses a variety of pedagogical techniques and effectively addresses students' different learning styles and needs. The nominee is an instructional leader at the local, state, and/or national level.
2. ADVOCACY FOR THE PROFESSION:
The nominee is a current, active member of the local, state, and/or national education association, and has assumed leadership roles at one or more of these levels. The nominee is an active member of other professional organizations and engages in activities that advance the profession and public education. The nominee speaks out on behalf of public education, educators, and students.
3. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT:
The nominee frequently interacts with parents and other community members on substantive issues in teaching and learning. The nominee identifies and helps to bring community resources to students in both formal and informal settings.
4. LEADERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
The nominee continually engages in experiences to improve his or her practice and to gain new skills and knowledge. The nominee shares this new learning with colleagues in a variety of venues. The nominee's participation in and commitment to professional development has a visible impact on his or her institution, students, and community.
5. ATTENTION TO DIVERSITY:
The nominee works to provide a learning environment that meets the needs of all students, regardless of differences. The nominee recognizes and explicitly addresses the full array of values, cultures, and experiences represented in our diverse modern society, both through curriculum and instruction and in other interactions with students.
A. DATA SHEET
1 page maximum, 12-pt. or larger type. The data sheet requests contact information for the state, federal, or direct affiliate; the nominee; and the nominee's local affiliate. The data sheet can be downloaded by clicking here.
B. NOMINATION LETTER
3 pages maximum, double spaced, 12-pt. or larger type, 1" margins on all sides. The nomination letter from the state, federal, or direct affiliate president addresses the award criteria outlined above, citing as many specific examples as possible.
1 page maximum, double spaced, 12-pt. or larger type, 1/2" or greater margins on all sides. The résumé provides a brief, factual overview of the nominee's career, including positions held, degrees attained, honors received, etc. The résumé may also describe personal achievements or activities that are not noted elsewhere.
D. NOMINEE'S STATEMENT
5 pages maximum, double spaced, 12-pt. or larger type, 1" margins on all sides. The nominee's statement must be written by the nominee, as a first-person narrative. The statement includes specific examples to illustrate all five of the award criteria. The questions themselves do not need to be reproduced in the text; however, nominees are strongly encouraged to include headings or keywords to aid the panelists in their reading. The nominee's statement addresses the following topics:
- What do you consider to be the most successful innovation that you have introduced in your classroom or school? What strategies or methods do you use to ensure that all students achieve at a high level? How do you act as an instructional leader?
- How has your involvement in the National Education Association or NEA affiliate(s) contributed to your success as an educator? How would you persuade a new colleague to join or become more active in the association? In what other ways do you serve as an advocate for the profession and for public education?
- What role(s) do you feel professional educators should play in the life of the community, and why? Conversely, how can community resources enhance student learning, and why are they important?
- What experiences or activities have been most beneficial to your professional knowledge, skills, and practice? How have you contributed to the professional development of your colleagues? How has your professional growth made a difference for your school or university, your students, and your community? Include examples from your experiences.
- How do you address issues of diversity in your curriculum and instruction and in other interactions with students, and what is the result of such efforts? How does your approach to diversity affect your work?
- If you have not already done so, tell a story about how your approach to teaching made a difference for a student or a group of students.
- What advice would you give to someone entering the profession on how to attain teaching excellence?
If the nominee has technology leadership experience, the statement addresses the following topic: The AOL@SCHOOL-NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence
- How do you use technology in the classroom to engage students? What technologies do you use and how do you address multiple student learning styles? Briefly describe your most innovative instructional use of technology. What steps have you taken to master new technologies and applications? How have you shared innovative uses of technology with your colleagues?
- E. LETTERS OF ENDORSEMENT
3 letters, maximum 2 pages. Letters of endorsement are written by the nominee's local affiliate president, colleagues, current or former students, parents, or community members. Letters must note how long the writer has known the nominee and in what capacity the writer is able to comment on the nominee's professional work. Letters should be signed, and the salutation should address the state affiliate selection committee or the national panel for The NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.
- Number the pages of the entire package consecutively, starting with the Data Instructions: Sheet (Part A) as Page 1.
- Do not staple or permanently bind the materials. Paper clips are acceptable.
- Do not use covers or other decorative packaging.
- Include only the materials requested in these guidelines.
- Mail one original, complete nomination package for receipt at Vermont-NEA by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 15. Submissions by fax or email are not permitted. Send your nomination package to:Vermont-NEA, 10 Wheelock Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.
Questions? Call 1-800-649-6375 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners of the Vermont-NEA Teaching Excellence Award
Douglas Wehner, Technology Teacher, Green Mountain Technology and Career Center
Grade 5 Elementary School Teacher, Founders Memorial School, Essex Town
K-3 Elementary School Teacher, Chamberlain School, South Burlington
Grade 4-5 loop Elementary School Teacher, Orchard School, South Burlington
Kathryn E.S. Grace
Special Educator, Founders Memorial School, Essex Town
David S. Ely
Science Teacher, Champlain Valley Union High School