Outside Awards for Educators & Schools

Businesses, nonprofit organizations, professional associations and others offer many awards that recognize educators, groups of educators and schools across the country.

The Maine Department of Education does not directly participate in the awards programs listed on this page. The Maine DOE shares the information here as a courtesy. This listing is not intended to represent a full compilation of available award programs. Inclusion on this page does not constitute an endorsement by the Maine Department of Education.

Character Education

  • National Schools of Character Program. National Schools of Character (NSOC) is an annual awards program recognizing K-12 schools and districts demonstrating outstanding character education initiatives that yield positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance. Although winners may differ in method, content, and scope, all emphasize core ethical values such as honesty, respect, responsibility and caring. Selected schools and districts receive a cash award of $2,000, national recognition, and are featured in the Character Education Partnership’s annual NSOC book/CD and on the Partnership’s website.

English and Language Arts

  • Journalism Education Association. The Journalism Education Association offers a list of awards for JEA members and non-members who have made contributions to journalism education.

General Teacher Recognition

  • American Library Association. The American Library Association site offers a variety of awards for school librarians, media professionals, and teachers.
  • ING Unsung Heroes Award. ING honors outstanding teachers in all 50 states through a $2,000 grant program. The First Place Teacher receives $25,000.
  • National Education Association Foundation. The National Education Association’s Foundation for the Improvement of Education website lists a number of grants and awards for educators.
  • National Middle School Association. The National Middle School Association has a list of awards that are awarded to outstanding middle-grade educators.
  • National Teachers Hall of Fame. The National Teachers Hall of Fame annually honors five teachers who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to teaching. Anyone may nominate a teacher. Inductees receive a $1,000 stipend, $1,000 in materials for their school district, a $1,000 scholarship for a student in the inductee's school district who is planning to pursue a degree in education, and more. Candidates must be certified classroom teachers (active or retired) with at least 20 years experience teaching in grades PreK-12.
  • Thomson Gale TEAMS Award. The Thomson Gale TEAMS Award recognizes and encourages the critical collaboration between teachers and media specialists to promote learning and increase student achievement. Three winners each receive a $2,500 cash award, Thomson Gale products worth approximately $500, a one-year subscription to Library Media Connection, and the Educator's Professional Bookshelf from Linworth Publishing. Nominations may be submitted by library media specialists, teachers, principals, students, or parents, from all K-12 public and private schools in the US and Canada.
  • Young Educator Award. The ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award nominee is an education professional, 40 or younger, who demonstrates exemplary commitment and exceptional contribution to the profession. This person's creative and innovative accomplishments within the classroom, school, district, state, or region have had a significant impact on student performance and achievement over time and provide an ongoing model of excellence in encouraging all learners to succeed. The educator's body of work consistently proves leadership among colleagues.  The winner receives $10,000.

Math, Science, and Technology Teacher Recognition

  • Maine Technology Educator and Maine Technology Leader of the Year Awards. ACTEM, the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine, annually recognizes "exceptional educators and leaders who use educational technology to impact student learning." Personal stipends of $2,000 each plus a $1,000 school gift certificate are awarded at the annual MAINEducation Technology Conference to the Maine Technology Educator of the Year and Maine Technology Leader of the Year.
  • National Association of Biology Teachers Awards. The National Association of Biology Teachers gives out a number of awards with prizes ranging from new equipment to professional development trips.
  • National Science Teachers Association. The National Science Teachers Association has numerous grants and award programs available for teachers.
  • Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award. The Outstanding Earth Science Teacher award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers is given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the secondary level." Middle school and high-school teachers are eligible. Eleven national finalists are selected, one from each National Association of Geosciences Teachers section. Some sections also recognize state winners. Individuals may apply themselves or nominate a colleague for the award.
  • Rosenthal Prize for Innovation in Math Teaching. Awarded annually to a classroom teacher in the United States by the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, the Rosenthal Prize celebrates innovation in the math classroom by rewarding a teacher who uses hands-on methods to engage and inspire students. TheRosenthal Prize carries a cash prize of $25,000. The winning teacher has the opportunity to share his or her innovation with interested teachers across the country. Fourth- through 12th-grade teachers are eligible.

School Nurse Recognition

  • Maine School Nurse of the Year. The Maine Association of School Nurses honors and publicly recognizes one school nurse annually who demonstrates excellence in school nursing practice and leadership in school health. 

School or School-wide Recognition

  • National School Change Awards. Annually, six schools from across the United States are recognized for having "significantly changed.” Responding to an invitation to nominate such schools, state commissioners of education, superintendents, national educational associations, universities, and foundations endorse candidates to be considered for these prestigious awards from the National Principals Leadership Institute. Schools may nominate themselves.
  • Schools That Shine (WCSH 6). Schools That Shine is a grant program designed to reward schools for innovation and creativity. One school is selected each month during the academic year to receive this grant.  The program is a partnership between WCSH 6 and local Dunkin' Donuts locations. Any school (public, charter, parochial, or independent) serving students in grades Pre-K through 12 may submit an application.

Social Studies Teacher Recognition

  • American Historical Association: The Beveridge Family Teaching Prize. Established in 1995, this prize honors the Beveridge family’s longstanding commitment to the AHA and K-12 teaching. Friends and family members endowed this award to recognize excellence and innovation in elementary, middle school, and secondary history teaching, including career contributions and specific initiatives. The prize is awarded on a two-year cycle rotation: in even-numbered years, to an individual; in odd-numbered years, to a group. The winner receives a $1,500 cash prize and a trip to Washington, D.C.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year. The VFW's Teacher of the Year program annually recognizes three teachers -- one each from the elementary, junior high and high school levels -- who regularly teach citizenship education topics and promote America's history and traditions. Winning teachers and their schools receive $1,000.

Special Education Professional Recognition

World Language Teacher Recognition

  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Awards. ACTFL presents numerous awards for educators.
  • Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award. The Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award recognizes exceptional teachers who further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese. The award is presented annually by the United States-Japan Foundation to two pre-college teachers in two categories, humanities and Japanese language, and consists of a certificate of recognition, a $2,500 monetary award, and $5,000 in project funds. It is named in honor of Elgin Heinz for his commitment to educating students about Asia as well as for the inspiration he has provided to the field of pre-college education.