Teaching remotely? Our free online toolkit can support you. GET INSPIRE AT HOME

51 Educators Representing Every State and D.C. Each Receive $10,000 as Part of a National Effort to Recognize Inspirational Teaching through the National University System-Sanford Teacher Award

News   |   November 27, 2018

51 Educators Representing Every State and D.C. Each Receive $10,000 as Part of a National Effort to Recognize Inspirational Teaching through the National University System-Sanford Teacher Award

The Sanford Teacher Award is based on criteria of inspiring teaching, and all finalists qualify for being named the nation’s top inspirational teacher in 2019; The awards, supported by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, reflect the mission of Harmony SEL and Inspire Teaching & Learning

San Diego, CA – In recognition of inspirational teaching nationwide, 51 teachers around the country – representing each state and the District of Columbia – have been named recipients of the first-ever National University System-Sanford Teacher Award. The teachers each receive $10,000 for demonstrating their commitment to creating inspirational and harmonious classrooms that support student development and achievement. The award is in the name of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who is committed to supporting inspiring teaching nationwide through PreK-12 programs that are being expanded nationally by the National University System. Each of today’s teacher recipients qualify for a chance to be recognized as the national winner of the Sanford Teacher Award, which will be named in early 2019.

The teachers being named today were selected by a committee of educators through an application process that included nominations and information provided by each teacher to assess how closely they represent characteristics of inspiring teaching, which included: Enthusiasm for teaching; empathy and warmth towards all students; fostering positive relationships with all students; creating a positive learning environment; and recognizing student strengths. Recognizing PreK-12 educators who clearly emulate these qualities allows for further exploration and research into inspirational teaching approaches that can be applied to the wider educational community, as noted in a preliminary report released today.

The qualities identified by the Sanford Teacher Award reflect the mission of education-focused programs that are being expanded nationally through the leadership of the private, nonprofit National University System, which is home to one of the Top Ten largest schools of education in the country. The Inspire Programs, which were developed through the support of Mr. Sanford, include Harmony SEL, a PreK-6 social emotional learning program that helps children develop communication and collaboration skills, and the PreK-12 Inspire Teaching & Learning program that offers teachers research-based resources and lessons to create inspiring classroom experiences.

“The National University System is so pleased to be honoring the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford by recognizing inspiring teachers around the country through the Sanford Teacher Award,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the San Diego-based National University System. “Teachers give so much of themselves to their students, schools and communities, and the Sanford Teacher Award is a way for us to celebrate the contributions of inspiring teachers who encourage children to reach their greatest potential.”

The Sanford Teacher Award is part of the national expansion efforts of the National University System-based Inspire Programs, which in addition to Harmony SEL and Inspire Teaching & Learning also includes a national network of fundraiser training programs anchored by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University. Mr. Sanford has donated about $130 million toward the National University System in support of the programs’ national expansion, an effort that involves the collaboration of universities around the country that share a similar focus and dedication to the professional support of educators and the nonprofit sector. To date, more than 3 million people have been impacted by the three programs.

“As a child, I was fortunate to have a few teachers who truly inspired me to learn and succeed. Educators have many similar opportunities to touch children’s lives and make meaningful impacts that can last a lifetime,” said Mr. Sanford. “As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, I can think of no better return on investment than inspiring students to embrace learning and find their path in life.”

The teachers being honored today are in addition to five Inaugural Sanford Teacher Award recipients who were identified earlier on in the campaign for representing key qualities being celebrated by the Sanford Teacher Award, and who were involved in raising awareness of the campaign. Both the Inaugural recipients and the teachers announced today qualify for the national title, which adds up to a total award of $50,000 for one of the teachers.

View list of Sanford Teacher Award recipients.

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, John F. Kennedy University, City University of Seattle, and the Division of Pre-College Programs. Established in 2001 to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st Century. The anchor institution, National University, was founded in in 1971 and is among the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California with more than 150,000 alumni and has among the Top Ten largest schools of education in the country. https://www.nusystem.org/

About the Inspire Programs at the National University System: The National University System is leading the national expansion of the three Inspire Programs, which were established through the generous support of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy helps prepare nonprofit frontline fundraiser leaders. The PreK-12 Inspire Teaching & Learning 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 that encourage students to succeed. Harmony SEL is a PreK-6 research-based social-emotional learning program that cultivates strong classroom relationships between all students, and has been recognized as a quality program by CASEL. http://sanfordprograms.org/