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The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards

Official Rules

In order to nominate your teacher, you will need to create an account with Submittable. You will be prompted to provide an email address and create a password. Afterwards, you will be taken to the nomination form where you can make your nomination for the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards.

Nominate a Teacher

Nominations for the 2019 cycle of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards are currently being accepted.

Important: Please read these rules before submitting a nomination application for The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards ("Award"). By submitting a teacher for consideration (the "Nominee(s)"), the nominating individuals (the "Nominator(s)") agree to be bound by these Official Rules and represent that the Nominator satisfies all of the eligibility requirements set forth below. Nominees who are selected and elect to receive an Award agree to be bound by these Official Rules and eligibility requirements.

1. Eligibility

All Nominees for the Award must be legal residents of the United States. Nominations must be based on experience as a full-time, classroom teacher in a K-12 school in the United States or as a college or university instructor in the United States. Nominators must be at least 18 years of age and have been a student of the Nominee. Nominations for teachers by peers, parents, relatives or other individuals based on non-teacher-student interactions will be null and void. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (the "Kennedy Center") reserves the right to reject any nomination which does not conform to these rules.

To be eligible, submissions must be completed and received by the Kennedy Center in the format designated below. Employees of the Kennedy Center, Freddie and Myrna Gershon, Stephen Sondheim (collectively, the "Sponsors") and any of their respective entities, subsidiaries, and immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses) and/or persons living in the same households as such persons of each are not eligible. All applicable federal state, and local laws and regulations apply.

2. Disclaimer

The Sponsors will not be responsible for: (a) any late, lost, misrouted, garbled, distorted, or damaged transmissions or entries; (b) telephone, electronic, hardware, software, network, Internet, or other computer or communications related malfunctions or failures; (c) any application disruptions, injuries, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of the Sponsors or by non-authorized human intervention; or (d) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Award.

The Sponsors reserve the right to determine the final number of Awards based on the quality of nominations received and do not commit to presenting a specific number of Awards in any award cycle. Awards may be a combination of public nominations and solicited nominations from public figures selected by the Sponsors.

3. Award Cycle

The award cycle ends at 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2019. All applications must be submitted online or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 31, 2019 in accordance with these Official Rules to be eligible.

4. Award

The $10,000 award will be presented to the selected awardees by check. Award recipients are responsible for all applicable taxes associated with the Award.

In the event of a posthumous award, the $10,000 award shall be donated in the name of the nominated teacher, to an eligible non-profit educational organization. Such organization must be affiliated with a K-12 school, school system, college or university in the United States.

5. How to Nominate a Teacher

  • Complete the online Nomination Form or download and print a copy.
  • Create a written, audio, or video essay. Written submissions must not exceed 500 words and must be in plain text (.txt) or Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) formats. Audio or video submissions must not exceed 3 minutes. Video must be in AVI or WMV format, minimum resolution 320x240. Audio must be in MP3 or WAV format.
  • Written submissions may be submitted online. If you choose to download the application and mail a hard copy, attach the essay to the application.
  • Submit all required materials, including your essay and the Nomination and Release Form (the "Materials"). Materials may be submitted online or via mail by sending them to the following address:

The Kennedy Center Education Department
ATTN: Sondheim Teacher Awards

For FedEx/DHL/UPS/Courier: 2700 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20566
For Regular U.S. or International Mail: P.O. Box 101510, Arlington, VA 22210

*Regular U.S. or Int'l. Mail sent to this address will be irradiated potentially destroying all contents.

All Materials must be in English. All requested information must be provided for the application to be considered.

6. Essay Rules

Essays must meet the following requirements in order to be

  • Written essays must be less than 500 words.
  • Video or audio essays must be less than three minutes long.
  • Essays must be suitable for display and distribution by the Kennedy Center on its websites, on kiosks within the Kennedy Center or other educational and promotional uses and must be appropriate for use by the National Center for the Performing Arts and Presidential Memorial. The Kennedy Center reserves the right to reject any entries which include profanity, violence, defamatory statements, nudity, or any material which appears to invade the privacy rights of any person or entity.
  • Essays must be original creations. No copyrighted writings, music, video, or images may be used in the Essay.

7. Requirements for Nominees

Award finalists will be selected by the Sponsors based on the Materials submitted by Nominators. If selected as a finalist, Nominees (or their families/next of kin in the case of posthumous awards) will be contacted in writing by the Kennedy Center and asked to submit additional paperwork, including an information and release form indicating acceptance of these Official Rules and permitting the Kennedy Center to conduct a background check and to use the Nominee’s name and other identifying information in connection with the Award. The families of posthumous finalists shall additionally be asked to approve the proposed organization to receive the award money.

In the event that a nominated teacher is selected by the Sponsors and elects not to participate or receive the Award or otherwise fails to respond to the Award information, the Kennedy Center and all other sponsors commit to maintaining the confidentiality of all information submitted.

8. Use of Entry Materials

If a Nominee is selected and elects to receive an Award, the essay submitted to the Kennedy Center will be published on the program website and the name, occupation, hometown and relevant school(s) of both the Nominee and Nominator will be made public as well as any personal information contained in the Materials and otherwise submitted by the Nominator or Nominee.

By submitting a nomination or accepting an award, participants authorize the Kennedy Center to use this information on the Kennedy Center website and in other promotional and program information.

All nomination materials may be shared with and among the Sponsors, however, the Kennedy Center will use reasonable efforts to keep details such as addresses, phone numbers, email and other identifiable contact information which is contained solely in the application materials confidential, except as between the Sponsors, and shall use this information solely for the purpose of contacting Nominees and Nominators.

If a Nominee is not selected or elects to decline an Award, the Kennedy Center will use all reasonable efforts to ensure all information submitted in support of the Nominee will remain confidential except as between the Sponsors.

9. Intellectual Property Notice

All materials submitted in connection with the Award, and all information provided by the Kennedy Center in connection therewith are, or shall become, the property of the Kennedy Center.

10. Miscellaneous

The Award and these Official Rules will be governed,
construed and interpreted under the laws of the District of Columbia. Nominators
agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of the Kennedy Center and other Sponsors, which are final and binding in all respects. The Kennedy Center reserves the right to change these Official Rules at any time, and in its sole discretion, and to suspend, cancel, postpone or extend the Awards. Individuals who violate or fail to comply with these Official Rules, violate any law, rule or regulation in connection with participation in the application process, tamper with the operation of the application or award process, or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to the Kennedy Center, the application process, the Award, or any other applicants (in each case as determined in the Kennedy Center’s sole discretion), are subject to disqualification.

If you have any questions about these Official Rules or the Award, contact us at All Award winners will be posted on the Kennedy Center website,, no later than March 22, 2019.

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