Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to be nominated for the National History Teacher of the Year Award?

  • Any full-time K–12 educator who teaches American history (including state and local history) as either an individual subject or as part of other subjects, such as social studies, reading, or language arts, is eligible for the award.
  • Past state and national winners are not eligible. Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • The award recognizes exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers. Eligible generalist and specialist teachers in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and US territories are encouraged to apply.

What are the criteria for the award?

All nominated teachers must meet the following criteria:

  • At least three years of classroom teaching experience
  • Will teach for at least one year following the award year
  • A demonstrated commitment to teaching American history
  • Evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom
  • Effective use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary sources to engage students with American history

Consideration of these factors will be based on the grade level taught in order to accommodate the teaching requirements of both generalist and specialist teachers.

How do I nominate a teacher for the award?

All nominations are made on the Gilder Lehrman website by completing a short form with the teacher’s contact information. You can nominate a teacher here.

Who can nominate a teacher for the award?

Nominations can be made by a student, parent, colleague, or principal or other administrator familiar with the teacher’s work. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Is there a deadline for nominating a teacher for the award?

In order for a teacher to be considered for the current year’s award, they must be nominated by April 30 of that year.

Can student work be included in the supporting materials?

  • Student work can be included in the supporting materials. This student work may be submitted in any form, including written work, photographs of classroom displays, student-created websites, documentaries, etc. Any student work submitted will be included in the fifteen-page limit.

What is the deadline for nominees to submit supporting materials?

All supporting materials for the current year’s award must be received by the Gilder Lehrman Institute by May 30.

How are state winners selected?

Each state convenes a committee to evaluate the award materials. Committee members may include history educators, professors, former state winners, and education professionals. The selection committee reviews all completed applications and selects the state winner from both generalist and specialist applicants using separate rubrics that fairly judge their individual strengths.

When are state winners announced?

State winners are announced in July. All applicants will be notified at that time.

How is the National History Teacher of the Year selected?

A panel of judges comprising the previous national winner, renowned historians, professors, and teachers reads and evaluates all state winner materials using separate rubrics that judge both generalists and specialists fairly and selects the National History Teacher of the Year.

When is the National History Teacher of the Year announced?

The National History Teacher of the Year is announced and honored in the fall.