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Educator of the Year

Award: 1 top award of $5,000, and 9 runner-up awards of $1,000

Eligibility: Candidates must be educators currently working within a public or private high school in the United States or abroad. 

Grant Details: In 2011, NSHSS awarded its first Claes Nobel Educator of the Year Award to Mr. James B. Carmicle of Hollywood High School in Los Angeles. There was so much interest in the award that for the following year, NSHSS decided to select one individual as our Educator of the Year, with additional finalists selected to become a part of the Top Ten Educators of the Year.  We’ve continued with this tradition ever since.

The Educators of the Year Award is presented annually to exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These awardees model best practices in teaching or administration inside and outside of the classroom, are peer role models, and demonstrate outstanding leadership and excellence in education. Any high school educator has the opportunity to apply.   

Application Requirements:

Prompt response of 800-1,000 words to the following question:
What is your teaching philosophy? Describe in detail your passion for education and its' impact on you.

Pictures/videos/media showing your leadership in action (optional but strongly encouraged)

Color headshot

Professional resume

Principal/Administrator recommendation

Application Opens: January 1, 2021
Closing Date: October 1, 2021 by 11:59PM

*Please note that closing time is in EST.

Apply Now

2020 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year

Meet our Claes Nobel Educator of the Year Award recipients! We’d like to recognize these educators for their outstanding efforts in supporting and growing both the academic and personal successes of their students to make a positive impact in the global community.

2020 Educators of the Year

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Top Principal of the Year: Robert Anstey, Canada Star Secondary School, Richmond, BC, Canada

Finalist: Darion Walton, Dallas ISD, Dallas, TX

Top Teacher of the Year: Dr. Chikezie Madu, White Station High School, Memphis, TN


  • Rajini Sundararaj, Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts, Jonesboro, GA
  • Andrea Price, Mt. Zion High School, Jonesboro, GA
  • Tobie Lambert, Mississippi School of the Arts,  Brookhaven, MS
  • Dr. Larina Warnock, Roseburg High School, Roseburg, OR
  • Kristie Letter, Peak to Peak High School, Lafayette, CO
  • Dave Case, Hood River Valley High School, Hood River, OR
  • Katherine Amos, Sierra High School, San Diego, CA

Top Counselor of the Year: Michelle Gomez, Canyon Springs High School, Moreno Valley, CA


  • Sylvester Hanner, George Westinghouse High School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Dr. Clara Lauderdale, Westfield High School, Houston, TX

Top Coach of the Year: Helen Freeman, Huntington High School, Huntington, WV


  • Lem Wheeles, A.J. Dimond High School, Anchorage, AK
  • Michael Grether, Rolesville High School, Rolesville, NC

Top Band/Music Director of the Year: Kristen Singer, Harborside Academy, Kenosha, WI


  • Robin Gin, Northview High School, Covina, CA
  • Kelli Morrison, Portales High School, Portales, NM
  • Christopher Wink, North Babylon High School, North Babylon, NY

Educators of the Past Years

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2019 Top Educator of the Year: Sofia Gonzalez, J S Morton High School East, Cicero, IL

2019 Educator of the Year Finalists:

Cristin Calder, Archbishop McCarthy High School, Southwest Ranches, FL

Davida Robinson, Uplift Peak Preparatory, Dallas, TX

Jason Schrock, Howell High School, Howell, MI

Meredith McCullough, Kenai Central High School, Kenai, AK

Sean Pang, Rockville High School, Rockville, MD

Sean Russell, Manchester Central High School, Manchester, NH

Stephanie Lopez, Preparatory Academy for Writers, Queens, NY

Tiffany Bernier, Valencia High School, Valencia, CA

Tracy Bates, Norman North High School, Norman, OK

2018 Top Educator of the Year Christine Fryer; MLK - Educational Campus High School for Law Advocacy and Community Justice, New York, NY

Mary Buehner; Ashley Ridge High School, Summerville, SC

Ashley Butler; Pickens High School, Pickens, SC

Diana Gano; Glenda Dawson High School, Pearland, TX

Tiffany Jackson; Travis Early College High School, San Antonio, TX

Dana Kelly; Central High School MCA, Louisville, KY

Michele Lamons-Raiford; Pinole Valley High, Pinole, CA

Dawn Lister; Calvert High School, Prince Frederick, MD

Frances Meetze; Mid-Carolina High School, Prosperity, SC

Kathleen Williams; Lake Weir High School, Ocala, FL

2017 Top Educator of the Year Joyce Kim; Prospect High School, Mount Prospect, IL

Thelvie Cullins, Jr.; School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center, Dallas, TX

Kelly Eddy; Churchill High School, Livonia, MI

Bob Fenster; Hillsborough High School, Hillsborough, NJ

McKenzie Lueders; Dodge City High School, Dodge City, KS

Jo-Ann McCauley; Wesleyan School, Norcross, GA

Rebecca Nelson; Oswego East High School, Oswego, IL

Cate Praggastis; East High School, Salt Lake City, UT

Tad Sours; Haas Hall Academy - Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR

Christopher Wendelin; Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, Palos Hills, IL

2016 Top Educator of the Year Brian Rodriguez; Alameda Science & Technology Institute, Alameda, CA

Thelvie Cullins, Jr.; School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center, Dallas, TX

Antonios Ekatomatis; Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD

Jessie Good; Kohler High School, Kohler, WI

Michael Lindblad; Gresham High School, Gresham, OR

Vicki McGuigan; The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY

Marc Pedersen; Paulding County High School, Dallas, GA

Gary Piercey; Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Wendy Wooten; Reseda High School, Reseda, CA

James Young; Battle Creek Central High School, Battle Creek, MI

2015 Top Educator of the Year Jody Zepp; Long Reach High School, Columbia, MD

Jennifer Cullison; Woodland High School, Woodland, WA

Cindy Cunningham; Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology, Petersburg, VA

Dana Krejcarek; Kohler High School, Kohler, WI

Marni Landry; Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix, AZ

Stergios Lazos; St. Edward High School, Lakewood, OH

Margaret Mitchell; Ridge High School, Basking Ridge, NJ

Regina O'Neal; Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, East Boston, MA

Mary Katherine Parson; Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, AK

Samuel Saenz; East Early College High School, Houston, TX

2014 Top Educator of the Year Eric Thiel; Amador Valley High, Pleasanton, CA

Amy Baker; Frenship High School, Wolfforth, TX

Kenneth Bernstein; Cantonsville High School, Cantonsville, MD

John Carnesecca; Great Oaks High School, Temecula, CA

Ana Castro; DuPont Manual High School, Louisville, KY

Ronald Hamme; Upper Dauphin Area High School, Elizabethville, PA

Michael Madden; William P. Clements High School, Sugar Land, TX

Audrey Schindler McDonald; East Boston High School, East Boston, MA

Shane Scott; Jerusalem School, Jerusalem, Israel

Erin Smith; Spring Ridge Academy, Spring Valley, AZ

2013 Top Educator of the Year Brian McDonald; Charles E. Jordan High School, Durham, NC

Erin Johnston; South Caldwell High School, Hudson, NC

Dana Kling; Brookwood High School, Snellville, GA

Dr. Teresita Lemus; John A. Ferguson Senior High, Miami, FL

Susan New; Trinity High School, Euless, TX

David Quinn; Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, WA

Laurel Spradley; Earl Warren High School, San Antonio, TX

Camilla Walck; Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA

David Williams; Valley View High School, Moreno Valley, CA

Glenn Yamasaki; Warren High School, Downey, CA

2012 Top Educator of the Year Patricia Wilson; Bloomington High School North, Bloomington, IN

James Brooks; West Wilkes High School, Millers Creek, NC

Beth Bynarowicz; Legacy High School, Broomfield, CO

Lewis Cobbs; Randolph School, Huntsville, AL

Tami Fitzgerald; West Muskingum High School, Zanesville, OH

Debra Liberman; George Washington High School, Philadelphia, PA

Judy Ritter; North Springs High School, Roswell, GA

Brian Rodriquez; Encinal High School, Alameda, CA

Melissa Tobin; Methuen High School, Methuen, MA

Mark Vondracek; Evanston Township High School, Gurnee, IL

James B. Carmicle; Hollywood High School, Los Angeles, CA