Search For Nations 50 Top Inspiring Teachers

One PreK-12 teacher in each state will be recognized for creating inspirational and harmonious classrooms that advance student development and achievement

Sanford Teacher Award
Chancellor Cunningham visits Jaime Escalante Early Education Center to honor first Sanford Teacher Award inaugural recipient Rafaela Campos, joined by school principal Lisseett Hernandez and LAUSD officials.

San Diego, CA – In recognition of teachers who inspire students to achieve their greatest potential, National University Systemhas launched the Sanford Teacher Award, a half-million dollar award campaign to honor 50 of the nation’s top inspiring PreK-12 teachers. The first-of-its-kind Sanford Teacher Award seeks to recognize the value of inspiring teachers nationwide by recognizing educators for their dedication to creating inspirational and harmonious classrooms that support student development and achievement. The Sanford Teacher Award will award the top inspirational teacher in each state with $10,000, with the exception of one top teacher who will be named a national winner and receive a grand award of $50,000.

To celebrate the Sanford Teacher Award launch, five remarkable educators who have been identified as representing the key characteristics of inspiring teaching are being recognized throughout the country as inaugural recipients of the Sanford Teacher Award. These five inaugural Award recipients will be announced in upcoming weeks as part of the campaign’s ongoing teacher outreach activities through the Oct. 22 award submission deadline. The first Inaugural Sanford Teacher Award is being presented to Rafaela Campos, an early childhood educator with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Other recipients of this special Inaugural recognition will be named in upcoming weeks in San Diego, Dallas, Clark County (Nev.) and New York City.

The five will support efforts in raising awareness of the national Sanford Teacher Awards competition, leading up to the announcement of the 50 winners in November.

“There is no higher calling than being a teacher, and as the teacher workforce is under heavy demands, it is important to provide educators ongoing support that inspires them in their classrooms,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System, a network of nonprofit education institutions that serve lifelong learners from PreK to graduate level.

As the nation faces an increasing teacher shortage exacerbated by teacher retention challenges, the PreK-12 Sanford Inspire offers a toolkit of research-based teaching methodologies, and on-demand, self-guided modules that are accessible online to help teachers create inspiring classroom environments. The Sanford College of Education at National University, which is part of the National University System, is also a leader among a growing number of universities that have integrated Inspire principles into their teacher education curriculum. Sanford Harmony is a PreK-6 research-based social-emotional learning program that cultivates strong classroom relationships between all students. Sanford Harmony has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as a quality program, and is being used in the nation’s largest school districts by teachers who appreciate its easy-to-integrate lessons, activity cards and story books that encourage students to develop empathy, communication skills, and positive peer relationships by learning how to collaborate and look beyond perceived differences.

The criteria for selecting the 50 winners is based on the following characteristics of inspiring teaching: Enthusiasm for teaching; empathy and warmth towards all students; fosters positive relationships with all students; creates a positive learning environment; and recognizes student strengths. The finalists’ nominations form will be reviewed by a selection committee based at National University in La Jolla, California.

To learn more about the Sanford Teacher Award and nominate an inspirational teacher, visit the Sanford Teacher Award page.

About the National University System
The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students that includes National University, Northcentral University, and City University of Seattle. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century, the network’s complementary universities offer pathways for students to attain professional and terminal degrees through quality and innovative programs delivered in a format that is flexible to the needs of adult learners. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 180,000 alumni. For more information on the National University System: https://www.nusystem.org.