The winner will be chosen by the following panel of judges:
- Peter Cooke, head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama
- Sue Frost, founding member of Junkyard Dog Productions and current Executive Committee member of The Broadway League
- Nina Lannan, founder of Bespoke Theatricals and former chair of The Broadway League
- Judith Light, Tony Award-winning actress and Carnegie Mellon alumna
- Lawrence Otis Graham, New York Times best-selling author and American Theatre Wing Trustee
- Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Group, American Theatre Wing Advisory Committee member and The Broadway League Executive Committee member.
To determine the award finalists and winner, these judges will review select nominations that were chosen by a larger group of experts in theatre and education from across the country.
Members of the public may submit nominations for the honor, which will be called the "Excellence in Theatre Education Award," to be presented by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University. Nominations are currently being accepted online at TonyAwards.com/educatoraward through March 31.
People are asked to submit an essay describing a teacher, kindergarten through grade 12, who has made a “monumental impact” on the lives and careers of their students. College instructors and professors, and former college teachers are not eligible.
“Anyone—from students and school administrators, to friends, neighbors and family—can submit a worthy teacher for consideration,” according to a statement from the Tonys. Submissions will be judged by a panel from the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, which jointly administer the Tonys. The winner will be announced this spring, and will be invited to accept his or her award onstage at the Tony ceremony June 7 at Radio City Music Hall.
The award was first announced in April 2014 in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon’s sponsorship of the Tonys—the first time an institution of higher education became a sponsor of the awards. In addition, a yet-to-be financial contribution will be made to the school where the winner works.
“This new award underscores our longstanding commitment to theatre education,” said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League in a statement. “Innumerable Tony Award winners have thanked their teachers during acceptance speeches. Starting this year, we’re putting educators and their essential roles at center stage.”
The Tonys also posted a YouTube video showing Tony winners praising the teachers who inspired their careers. Watch the video below: