National History Teacher of the Year FAQs

Who is eligible to be nominated for the National History Teacher of the Year Award?
Any full-time K–12 educator who teaches American history (including state and local history) as either an individual subject or through social studies, reading, language arts, and other subjects is eligible for the award. The Institute honors elementary (K–6) and middle and high school (7–12) teachers in separate categories in alternate years.

Nominees must be planning to teach for at least one year following the award year. Past state and national winners are not eligible. Self-nominations are not accepted.

What are the criteria for the award?
All nominated teachers must meet the following criteria:

  • At least three years of classroom teaching experience.
  • A demonstrated commitment to teaching American history.
  • Evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom.
  • Effective use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary resources to engage students with American history.

How do I nominate a teacher for the award?
All nominations are made on the Gilder Lehrman website by completing a short form with the teacher’s contact information. You can nominate a teacher here.

Who can nominate a teacher for the award?
Nominations can be made by a student, parent, colleague, or principal or other administrator familiar with the teacher’s work. Self-nominations are not accepted.

When will teachers receive notification that they have been nominated?
Nominated teachers will be notified by email right away. They will be provided with instructions on submitting additional materials to complete their nomination.

Is there a deadline for nominating a teacher for the award?
In order for a teacher to be considered for the current year’s award, he or she must be nominated by February 1 of that year.

The teacher I want to nominate teaches at both the elementary (K–6) and middle and high school (7–12) levels. How should I nominate him/her for the award?
For the purposes of the award, the teacher must be nominated in only one category that best represents his or her American history instruction. All instructional materials submitted must relate to the category in which he or she is nominated.

What is the deadline for nominees to submit supporting materials?
All supporting materials for the current year’s award must be received by the Gilder Lehrman Institute by March 15.

How are state winners selected?
Each state convenes a committee to evaluate the award materials. Committee members may include history educators, professors, former state winners, and other education professionals. The selection committee reviews all completed nominations and selects the state winner.

When are state winners announced?
State winners are announced in May. All applicants will be notified at that time.

How is the National History Teacher of the Year selected?
A panel of judges comprising the previous national winner, renowned historians, professors, and teachers reads and evaluates all state winner materials based on the criteria for the award and selects the National History Teacher of the Year.

What prizes do state History Teachers of the Year receive?
State History Teachers of the Year receive a prize package including a certificate of recognition, a $1,000 award, a collection of classroom resources to be presented in their honor to their school library, and the opportunity to participate in a Gilder Lehrman Institute summer seminar. The winner’s school becomes a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School. Each state winner is also a finalist for the National History Teacher of the Year Award.

What prizes does the National History Teacher of the Year receive?
The National History Teacher of the Year receives an additional $10,000 prize and a trip to the national ceremony along with two of his or her students.

When is the National History Teacher of the Year announced?
The National History Teacher of the Year is announced and honored in the fall.

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