The Distinguished Advisers are Michelle Balmeo, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.; Mitch Eden, Kirkwood (Mo.) High School; Gregory Gagliardi, Cherry Hill (N.J.) High School East, and Nancy Y. Smith, Lafayette High School, Wildwood, Mo. Special Recognition Advisers are Christine Keyser-Fanick, John Paul Stevens High School, San Antonio; Evelyn Lauer, Niles West High School, Skokie, Ill.; Matt Rasgorshek, Westside High School, Omaha, and Brian Wilson, Waterford (Mich.) Kettering High School.
How to Apply
The program identifies outstanding high school journalism teachers with at least three years' experience who have done exemplary work in the previous academic year. While others (including students) can submit nomination letters for a teacher, the application form must be completed by the teacher. Teachers are asked to confine their responses to a total of five typed pages. No more than three letters of support may be submitted along with the application, in addition to an updated resume, a high-resolution headshot of the teacher and six copies of two editions of newspapers or newsmagazines. For web-only media: Please print out six sets of home pages and news or feature pages for a single day's edition -- not to exceed 10 pages per set. Be sure to provide the URL so that panelists can review the website online.
The postmark deadline for the 2015 Teacher of the Year Awards program is July 9. Application forms will be available in February.
The teacher addresses the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, American Society of News Editors, and college journalism educators. The winning teacher receives a laptop computer, travel and lodging expenses, a per diem for substitute teacher fees and writes a quarterly column for the Fund's newspaper, Adviser Update. The winner will also receive free webinars from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A senior student at the winning teacher's school will receive a $1,000 scholarship to study journalism based on their performance in a writing contest held at their school. A student at each Distinguished Adviser's school will receive a $500 scholarship as well. The Teacher of the Year and Distinguished Advisers receive free subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition.
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, the senior projects director for the American Society of News Editors and Fund staff 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.
Winning teachers are guests of the Fund at the Advisers' Luncheon at the JEA/NSPA convention each November. They also attend the editors and college educators conventions.
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.