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.
For those applying by mail, teachers are asked to confine their responses to a total of five typed pages.
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.
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.