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Teacher of the Year

National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year Program

Mitch Eden of Kirkwood (Mo.) High School with free speech advocate Mary Beth Tinker.

Mitch Eden of Kirkwood (Mo.) High School is the Dow Jones News Fund's 2015 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. He advises the award-winning
Kirkwood Call

Eden spoke and received a plaque and a laptop computer for his classroom during the National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 14 in Orlando, Fla. Click here to watch his speech. In addition, a graduating senior at Kirkwood High School will receive a $1,000 scholarship in his honor. He also has a digital subscription to and access to webinars from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla. CSPA will underwrite his participation in its spring convention in New York City where he will speak and present workshops.

The Fund also named four Distinguished Advisers. These honored teachers receive $500 scholarships for a student and subscriptions to courtesy of the publishers of The Wall Street Journal. The winners are: Sandra Coyer, Puyallup (Wash.) High School; Rachel Rauch, Homestead High School, Mequon, Wis.; Amanda Thorpe, Portage (Mich.) Community High School; and Mitch Ziegler of Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, Calif. 

The Fund also named four Special Recognition Advisers. These advisers received a plaque at the National High School Journalism Convention and also won a digital subscription to They are Terry Cassreino, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Madison, Miss.; Alena Cybart-Persenaire, Kennedy High School, Waterbury, Conn.; Thomas Kaup, Auburn (Wash.) High School; and Leland Mallett, Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas.

The Fund has selected 57 Teachers of the Year since 1960.

About the Program

We look for the best in scholastic journalism. Teachers who adapt their lesson plans to include the latest digital tools and techniques for storytelling; and high school media advisers who mentor students to create award-winning publications. Applicants must have taught or advised high school media for at least three years and plan to continue in the following school year. Teachers who only advise the yearbook or a literary magazine are not eligible. 

In addition to the Teacher of the Year award we honor eight high school journalism teachers and media advisers who go above and beyond the call of duty as Distinguished Advisers and Special Recognition Advisers.


How to Apply

The application process generally runs between March and July each year. The application must be completed by the teacher. However, the Fund welcomes nominations from students and colleagues. 

The application includes 12 questions and applicants must submit six copies of their single best issue from the year, or provide a URL to an online issue during the school year. Yearbooks and literary magazines are not accepted. 

No more than three letters of support may be submitted along with the application, in addition to an updated resume and a high-resolution headshot of the teacher.

Applications must be completed online. Access the Teacher of the Year application on our forms page or visit this link:

Hard copies of student media should be shipped to: 
Dow Jones News Fund
Attn: Heather Taylor
4300 Route 1 North, Building 5
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852

Awards and Benefits

The winning teacher will receive a pin, a plaque, a laptop for the journalism program, and travel and lodging expenses to speak at three national conventions: the fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, CSPA Convention spring convention in New York City and the AEJMC conference.

The package also includes 12 free Poynter Institute webinars, a digital subscription to The Wall Street Journal, a $1,000 college scholarship for a senior student to pursue journalism studies, a per diem for substitute teacher fees and a quarterly column for the Fund's newspaper.

Distinguished and Special Recognition Advisers will receive plaques and digital subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal for their classroom. Distinguished Advisers will also win a $500 scholarship for a senior. 

Selection Process
An advisory panel made up of a newspaper editor, the current Teacher of the Year, leaders of scholastic journalism organizations, the chair of the scholastic journalism division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Fund board member confers to select the honored teachers. They weigh each teacher's service in journalism organizations, personal and publication awards, quality of their students and of the school newspaper, newsmagazine or online publication, their philosophy and approach to student press rights and ethics.

The teacher with the highest score is selected Teacher of the Year, the four teachers with the next highest scores are named Distinguished Advisers. Special Recognition Advisers are chosen for their good showing against the criteria. All applicants are notified of their status in the competition in September.

The Teacher of the Year program is co-sponsored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and The Wall Street Journal.

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