Teacher of the Year
Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn’t be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.
The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics—for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment—can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:
- A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
- A $1,000 award for his/her school.
- Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
- An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award.
WHO SHOULD BE NOMINATED:
Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for the award.
If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them
HOW TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION:
Step 1: In 350 words or less, describe why you feel your nominee is deserving of the award. Be sure to describe the teacher’s innovative teaching and resource development methods, as well as his or her dedication to education.
Step 2: Complete the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form.
Step 3: Submit the nomination form along with your explanation to your local VFW Post by Oct. 31.
Note: Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Nominations submitted by relatives or self are not eligible.
HOW THE CONTEST WORKS:
Based on the nominees submitted, VFW’s local chapters – called Posts – will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Posts then submit their winning names to their District-level judging.
From there, the selected winners are forwarded to the Department-level (state-level). Once they are judged on a state level, the winners are passed along to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.
The 2017 Teacher of the Year winners are:
Theresa Early, a fourth-grade special education teacher at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., has been named the 2017 winner at the elementary school level.
Jeffrey Benes, an Iraq War veteran and a seventh-grade geography teacher at Antioch Middle School in Gladstone, Mo., was named the 2017 middle school winner.
Steve Johnson, a science teacher at Churchill County High School in Fallon, Nev., was named the 2017 high school winner.