Nakamura and Teaching Award

This award goes to a certified member who recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession.  IEA’s Nakamura honoree is IEA’s nomination for the NEA Award for Teaching Excellence. The awardee will be IEA’s guest at the NEA Foundation Banquet in February.  To apply, please fill out and print the NEA’s Teacher of the Year award application from the NEA Foundation website, and send the completed form to IEA like all other awards.  We will submit the Nakamura Award winner to NEA as our nominee.

Nomination Guidelines and Form (PDF version)

Nomination Guidelines



An award presented annually by the Idaho Education Association and nominee for the NEA Foundation Teacher of the Year

Purpose: To recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession

The Idaho Education Association believes all students deserve a quality education.  Research and experience have found that, next to effective parenting, the knowledge, skill, and dedication of teachers contribute most to the accomplishment of this goal.  Therefore, the IEA—an organization of public school educators dedicated to excellence in public education—is pleased to recognize each year an Association member for her/his accomplishments on behalf of Idaho’s students and our profession.  By selecting and celebrating a winner of this award, we intend to honor teaching excellence, public education, and the remarkable dedication of Idaho’s public school educators.

Award: Only one IEA member will be recognized for this honor annually. The member who receives the IEA’s Marsha Nakamura Award for Teaching Excellence will be recognized at the IEA’s Delegate Assembly.  The award winner will receive a commemorative plaque, have his/her name added to a perpetual plaque on display at the IEA Headquarters, and receive payment of her/his IEA dues for one year.

In addition, the IEA award winner will become Idaho’s nominee for the NEA Foundation’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Each year, five affiliate awardees receive The Horace Mann-NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence, which include $10,000 cash and expenses-paid travel to NFIE’s annual Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington, D.C.  These awardees are also considered finalists for the national award.  All other affiliate awardees receive The I CAN Learn® – NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence, which fund travel to the gala.

The NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence is presented to one of the five national finalists at the gala.  This award includes an additional $25,000 cash and a personalized commemorative gift.

Application: Application for the IEA’s Marsha Nakamura Award for Teaching Excellence shall be made using the NEA Foundation’s Guidelines for NEA State, Federal and Direct Affiliates for the Awards for Teaching Excellence that will be tailored to reflect the IEA’s submission deadline and instructions as to where and how the application should be submitted.

Criteria: Applications for the national awards are judged according to five criteria. Panelists rate state awardees on each criterion using the point value indicated below.

1) PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: The awardee demonstrates instructional expertise, creativity, and innovation. The awardee uses a variety of pedagogical techniques and effectively addresses students’ different learning styles and needs. The awardee is an instructional leader at the local, state, and/or national level. (15 points)

2) ADVOCACY FOR THE PROFESSION: The awardee is a current, active member of the local, state, and/or national education association, and has assumed leadership roles at one or more of these levels. The awardee is an active member of other professional organizations and engages in activities that advance the profession and public education. The awardee speaks out on behalf of public education, educators, and students. (15 points)

3) COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: The awardee frequently interacts with parents and other community members on substantive education issues. The awardee brings community resources to the classroom and conducts service learning projects with his or her students in the community. (5 points)

4) LEADERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The awardee continually engages in experiences to improve his or her practice and to gain new skills and knowledge. The awardee shares this new learning with colleagues in a variety of venues. The awardee’s participation in and commitment to professional development has a visible impact on his or her institution, students, and community. (10 points)

5) ATTENTION TO DIVERSITY: The awardee works to provide a learning environment that meets the needs of all students, regardless of differences. The awardee recognizes and explicitly addresses the full array of values, cultures, and experiences represented in our diverse modern society, both through curriculum and instruction and in other interactions with students. (5 points)



Datasheet: Complete the Nakamura Excellence Award Datasheet document (see below)
One-page maximum- must be typed

Nomination Letter: The nomination letter from the state, federal, or direct affiliate president explains why the awardee deserves a national award. Alternatively, a local president can write the official nomination letter outlining the awardee’s qualifications and the state president can attach an additional page with one sentence certifying the nomination.  Nomination letters (all combined) should be double-spaced, 12-point or larger.

Three-pages maximum

Resume:  The resume provides a brief, factual overview of the awardee’s career, including positions held, degrees attained, honors received, etc.  The resume may also describe personal achievements or activities that are not noted elsewhere.

Two-pages maximum

Awardee Statement (3400 words maximum):

The awardee’s statement must be written by the awardee, as a first-person narrative.  The statement must include specific examples to illustrate all five of the award criteria listed below.  The questions below (which come from the NEA Foundation Nomination form) do not need to be copied verbatim into the text.  However, awardees are strongly encouraged to include headings or keywords related to the criteria to aid the panelists with the reading.

  • What are the most successful innovations that you have introduced in your classroom or school? What strategies or methods do you use to ensure that all students achieve at a high level?  How do you act as an instructional leader?
  • How has your involvement in the National Education Association or NEA affiliates (IEA) contributed to your success as an educator? How would you persuade a new colleague to join or become more active in the association? In what other ways do you serve as an advocate for the profession and for public education?
  • What community resources do you bring to the classroom to enhance your lessons and student achievement? What service learning projects have you conducted with your students to benefit the community?
  • What experiences or activities have been most beneficial to your professional knowledge, skills, and practice? How have you contributed to the professional development of your colleagues? How has your professional growth made a difference for your school or university, your students, and your community? Include examples.
  • How do you address issues of diversity in your curriculum, instruction and other interactions with students? What is the result of such efforts? How does your approach to diversity affect your work?
  • If you have not already done so, tell us how your approach to teaching made a difference for a student or a group of students.
  • What advice would you give to someone entering the profession on how to attain teaching excellence?

    Letters of Endorsement (three letters, 2-pages maximum each, double spaced):
     These letters should be written by the Local president, colleagues, current or former students, parents, or community members.  Letters should be signed and submitted digitally.  The salutation should address the IEA Awards Committee.

    Digital Photo: 
    Please upload a JPEG photo of the nominee. By submitting this photo, the nominee gives IEA and the NEA Foundation unlimited rights to use his/her photo and story. (17)

    Awards Marsha Nakamura

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