The John F. Kennedy Center is seeking nominations for the 2018 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards. Now entering their eighth year, the awards recognize inspiring teachers in any field of education across the U.S.
Each year, nominations are solicited from the general public, who are invited to submit their personal stories about educators—from kindergarten through college—who made a significant impact on their lives.
The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards are presented each year on Sondheim’s birthday, March 22. Recipients each receive a $10,000 prize. Their stories, as told by the nominating students, are featured on a website dedicated to inspirational teachers.
Myrna and Freddie Gershon, who fund the annual awards, established the honor in celebration of Sondheim’s 80th birthday. Since its creation in 2010, a total of 71 teachers have been recognized for their influence on students in a wide variety of disciplines—not just the arts. To date, $710,000 has been bestowed since the awards’ inception.
Nominators must be at least 18 years of age and have been a student of the nominee. Teacher nominees must teach or have taught in a K-12 school, college, or university in the United States. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas are eligible. A panel of judges reviews a pool of nominations and selects the recipients based on the power and quality of the nomination from their former students.
Posthumous nominations are also accepted. Nominators must designate a 501(c)3 organization or fund within a K-12 school, school system, college, or university to receive the $10,000 award in the deceased teacher's name.
The nomination deadline is December 31, 2017. Click here to nominate a teacher for the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards.