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Angelo J Dorta Award for Teaching Excellence

An honor bestowed annually to celebrate teaching excellence, public education, and our dedicated school workforce.

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 Angelo J. Dorta 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.

The Award: 
A $1,000 cash award, recognition at the annual Vermont-NEA Awards Luncheon during 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.

Deadline for Nominations: 
All nomination materials must be submitted in hard copy or electronically by or before February 28th. Nomination materials must be received at the Vermont-NEA office by 5:00 p.m. and may not be submitted by facsimile.

Selection Process: 
Selection of the award recipient will be made at the state level by the Angelo J. Dorta Teaching Excellence Award Selection Panel. The Panel will be comprised of two statewide officers, two Board Directors, and two local affiliate teacher leaders/members. 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.

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: The awardee demonstrates expertise, creativity, and innovation in providing rich learning opportunities for students. The awardee uses a variety of strategies to effectively address students’ different learning styles and needs. (15 points)

ADVOCACY FOR THE PROFESSION: The awardee 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 awardee is an active member of other professional organizations and engages in activities that advance the profession and public education. The awardee is a strong, effective spokesperson for students, educators and the profession. (15 points)

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION AND JUSTICE: The awardee works to provide a safe, supportive learning environment that meets the needs of all students, regardless of differences. The awardee recognizes and explicitly addresses the full array of values, cultures, and experiences represented in our diverse modern society, through interactions with students. (10 points)

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: he awardee actively engages families to support student learning and success. The awardee is intentional in engaging the community to enhance student learning and success. (5 points)

LEADERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The awardee continually engages in experiences to improve his or her practice and to gain new skills and knowledge. The awardee shares this new learning with colleagues in effective ways. The awardee’s participation in and commitment to professional development has a visible impact on his or her students, institution and community. (5 points)

1 page maximum, 12-pt. or larger type. The data sheet requests contact information for the state, federal, or direct affiliate and the nominee. The data sheet can be downloaded by clicking here.

3 pages maximum, double spaced, 12-pt. or larger type.  The nomination letter from the state or local affiliate president explains why the awardee deserves the award, citing as many specific examples as possible.

2 page maximum.  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.

No more than 6 pages, single-spaced, 12-point font.  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 below do not need to be copied verbatim 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:

Professional Practice:

• How have you grown as an educator throughout your career? Cite examples of ways you have developed your skills and/or adapted your practice over time. What strategies or methods do you use to support student learning and student success?

• Share a story about how your work has made a difference for a student or a group of students.

Advocacy for the Profession:

• 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? Please include examples and, if possible, links to videos of you speaking.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice:

• How do you address issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in your interactions with students? What is the result of such efforts? How does your approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice affect your work? Please include examples.

Family and Community Engagement:

• How have you been intentional in engaging families and community members to support student learning and success? How do you build relationships with parents and community members? Please include examples.

Leadership in Professional Development:

• 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 students, school and community? Please include examples.

Up to 3 letters, maximum 2 pages each, double spacing preferred. Letters of endorsement are written by the nominee's local affiliate president, colleagues, current or former students, parents, or community members. Letters should be signed, if possible, and the salutation should address the state affiliate selection committee or the national selection panel for The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence.


Mail or email one original, complete nomination package for receipt at Vermont-NEA by 5:00 p.m. EST,  February 28th. Send your nomination package to: Vermont-NEA, 10 Wheelock Street, Montpelier, VT 05602 or e-mail [email protected].

Questions? Call 1-800-649-6375 or e-mail [email protected]

Recent Winners

2023  Mike Campbell – Maple Run Education Association 

2021  Thomas Payeur – Winooski Education Association 

2020  Kelly Robinson – Orleans Southwest Education Association

2019  Karen Chitambar – Northeast Kingdom Education Association


The Union of Vermont Educators

The Vermont-National Education Association is the union of Vermont educators, 13,000 professionals who teach the state's children every day. As the state's largest union, Vermont-NEA is proud to represent the people who make a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across Vermont.