The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards
The annual Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards publicly recognize specific teachers by spotlighting their extraordinary impact on the lives of students. The Awards celebrate the teaching profession, the important role of teachers in society, and seek to inspire others to pursue this noble profession. Nominated by students they once taught, these former students' stories exemplify the power one teacher has to inspire others and transform lives.
Find out more about how to nominate your teacher for the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards.
Nominations for the 2019 cycle of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards are currently being accepted.
"It is my joy to provide musical experiences for children that encourage them to notice how things are connected, to appreciate all cultures, and take pride in our American heritage, to lose their fear of giving a wrong answer, to contemplate excellence, and to work together to create something beautiful."
"I might be the world's luckiest teacher. Colleagues, two Presidents, the Queen, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Dalai Lama have honored my use of The Arts to help students reach extraordinary heights. My proudest accomplishment, however, is that I remain a public school teacher after twenty-eight years."
"Taught and lectured 39 years at Yale, 12 as Director of Graduate Studies. Started as Director of department's introductory History of Western Literature course. Chair of Yale College's Committee on Teaching and Learning, three years. My lecture course, Introduction to Literary Theory, was filmed and can be viewed at open.yale.edu/courses/."
"My teaching career began in earnest when I joined the English Department of Hunter College High School in New York City in 1991. There I was able to establish an ongoing rapport with the students, based mutual respect and a mutual delight in thoughtful exchanges in the classroom."
"Serving my community as an educator, mentor, facilitator, and author for fourteen years has been amazing. It has never been trouble-free being a challenging teacher, but I remain demanding because I understand my students' obstacles. Their dreams inspire me to go beyond the classroom to prepare them for post-secondary success."
"Starting my teaching career in 1998 as Miami-Dade County Public Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year, exciting; teaching for 13 years in a culturally diverse high school in Miami, challenging; sponsoring FCCLA, FEA and coaching, rewarding; preparing my students for a successful career in education, an honor."
"I have taught school for 33 years. I taught three years in Rocky Ford, Colorado with grades K-1-2 and one year in Alhambra, California teaching grades 7-8. The last 29 years. I have taught at Levi Bemis Elementary with grades 3-4-5-6. I also have spent 20 years as a music teacher (guitar/banjo)."
"Since beginning to teach in 1969, I have tried to educate the hearts as well as the minds of my students. I found that great learning takes place inside and outside the classroom, which I discovered when I began involving students in a variety of cultural and community service activities."
"I began my teaching career 15 years ago. I taught at my alma mater for 8 years and then pioneered a new program, Project ACCEPT, where I teach today. I took my Intellectually Disabled students to college! Teaching, I feel is an incredible way of life, it is my life."
"I am a Professor of Theatre at Valdosta State University and serve as the Area Head of the Theatre and Dance programs and Artistic Director of Peach State Summer Theatre, the Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia. I am the author of Assignments in Musical Theatre Acting and Directing and Tall Betsy and the Crackerbarrel Tales, a musical play for young audiences. I am a recipient of the Georgia Theatre Conference Leighton Ballew Award for Distinguished Service to Theatre in Georgia."
"My career has focused on teaching and directing musical theatre, an ideal subject with which to impart and inspire. Discovering talent and developing it is a challenging experience. Investing time, energy, and emotion in nurturing a student's soul and self esteem is a rewarding journey. I am blessed in my semi-retirement to reconnect with countless students and see how my "instrument" turned out. Now I am the one being inspired!"
See what leaders and celebrities have to say about the impact their favorite teachers had on them and the impact good teachers make on students, schools, and communities. With the following links:
- J.J. Abrams
- Dr. Jill Biden
- Bill Bradley
- Warren Buffett
- Farai Chideya
- Stephen Chu
- Oscar de la Hoya
- Rita Dove
- Julia Louis Dreyfus
- Mitch Julis
- Joshua Ramo
Gatlinburg teacher honored with Kennedy award for motivating student
Local 8 now, April 8, 2015
Local teacher honored with national award
C&G News, April 6, 2015
RCC instructor receives $10,000 surprise
Robesonian, April 3, 2015
'Trademark joy and pizzazz': Retired WSU theater prof Fusillo wins national award
Winona Daily News, March 28, 2015
Fulger honored with inspirational teacher award
Van Zandt Newspaper, March 26, 2015
Gatlinburg teacher receives Kennedy Center honor
Mountain Press, March 25, 2015
3 Michigan teachers among 13 to win national award
Detroit News, March 20, 2015
Ann Arbor teacher wins Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award
MLive, March 20, 2015
Kennedy Center Names 2015 Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award Winners
Broadway World, March 20, 2015
Kennedy Center-Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards Announced
Playbill, March 20, 2015
Lake Orion High School teacher among winners of national award
Macomb Daily, March 20, 2015
Glencoe, Illinois Teacher Wins Kennedy-Sondheim Award
Chicago Sun-Times, May 5, 2014
Alum Grant earns Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award
University of Wisconsin, April 29, 2014
Giving him something
Barnstable Patriot, March 28, 2014
Art teacher wins Kennedy Center award for work at Bishop Fenwick
Salem News, March 24, 2014
Teacher lauded for stellar inspiration
Cape Cod Times, March 22, 2014
Teachers Honored With Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards
Playbill, March 21, 2014
Kennedy Center Announces Winners of 2014 Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards
Broadway World, March 20, 2014
Six Teachers from Across the United States Receive The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards
Music Theatre International, March 20, 2014
Kalamazoo teacher wins national Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim award
Michigan Education Association, May 13, 2013
Ex-Los Gatos High School Teacher Denney Daets Earns $10K Award
Los Gatos Patch, May 10, 2013
Retired teacher honored for inspiring students
Colfax Record, April 11, 2013
Teacher receives honor after nomination from former student
Boston Globe, April 4, 2013
Langston Fitzgerald Wins The Kennedy Center/ Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award
Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, March 29, 2013
URI professor receives national award
Providence Journal, March 27, 2013
Inspiring Strawberry Crest teacher wins Sondheim grant
Tampa Tribune, March 22, 2013
Team, teacher recognized at school board
Picayune Item, April 18, 2012
Bryantown resident wins prestigious teaching award
Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, April 6, 2012
Huntingtown teacher receives Kennedy Center award
Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, April 6, 2012
Award-Winning Teacher Uses Medical Crisis To Instill Life's Lessons
Hartford Courant, March 28, 2012
From headed for jail to head of the class
CBS News, March 22, 2012
Golenko named recipient of Sondheim Award
Pasadena Citizen, March 23, 2012
Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards Announced
Back Stage, March 22, 2012
Second Annual Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards Announced
Playbill, March 22, 2012
Storrs Teacher Honored With $10K Sondheim Award
Hartford Courant, March 22, 2012
Cumberland teacher wins Kennedy Center honor for sharing joy of music
Fayetteville Observer, April 14, 2011
Award celebrates professor’s "extraordinary impact" on student’s life
Yale Daily Bulletin, March 28, 2011
Jacque Wheeler wins Kennedy Center Inspirational Teacher Award
Valdosta Daily Times, March 24, 2011
Cleveland schools English teacher named among nation's 10 most inspirational teachers
Cleveland.com, March 22, 2011
New Sondheim award for inspirational teachers
Southern California Public Radio, March 22, 2011
We are pleased to announce a new strategic alliance with the U.S. Department of Education TEACH campaign. TEACH is designed to raise awareness of the teaching profession and inspire a new generation of teachers to join the ones who are already making a difference in the classroom.