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Nomination Regulations

Click here to download the Full Nomination Materials ( .doc file ).


  • Nominees must be full-time public or private 3rd -12th grade school teachers in Tennessee.
  • Teachers of English, foreign languages, history, social studies, and school librarians are eligible for nomination. Teachers of art, drama, and music are eligible for nomination if they emphasize the history, criticism, and theory of the arts.
  • Nominees should be exceptionally skillful and dedicated teachers who possess an expansive and profound knowledge of the humanities subject(s) they teach.
  • Nominees should have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and co-workers.
  • Nominees should have a record of active involvement in community activities and professional organizations, particularly those activities and organizations that involve promoting an understanding and use of the humanities.
  • Previous award winners are ineligible to apply for the award again.


Since the nominee plays a critical role in the preparation of the application, anyone interested in nominating a teacher for this award must first contact him or her and receive permission to do so.

The review panel will be looking for candidates that demonstrate an understanding of the humanities and its role in the lives and livelihood of their students. The program is very competitive and all nominations are competing with one another, regardless of the grade level taught.

The nomination must contain the following materials:

  1. Nomination Cover Letter (limit to 500 words)
    This letter, prepared by the person(s) nominating the teacher, should address the criteria listed in the "Qualifications of Nominees" section of the announcement.
  2. Nomination Cover Sheet
    The official cover sheet, provided with the nomination packet, must be attached to each nomination package. The list of community and professional activities is considered part of this form.
  3. Listing of Professional and Community Activities
    As requested on the nomination cover sheet.
  4. Statement of Philosophy of Teaching (limit to 500 words)
    • In this statement, the nominee should describe his or her general philosophy of teaching.
    • The nominee must also describe his or her ideal classroom.
  5. Statement of Method of Teaching (limit to 500 words)
    This statement, also prepared by the nominee, should contain the following:
    • a description of the teacher's methods and techniques of instruction,
    • specific examples of these methods and techniques,
    • an explanation of how these methods enhance the students' understanding of the subject matter,
    • and specific details on teaching the humanities within the nominee's particular school environment.
  6. Statement of the Value of an Education in the Humanities (limit to 500 words)
    • Here the nominee should express his or her thoughts on how an education in the humanities and (not just the humanities subject he or she teaches) prepares a student for both livelihood and life.
    • Specific examples of cases in which the teacher has affected a student's perceptions and understanding through an education in the humanities should be included.
  7. Statement on the Use of the $2,000 Fellowship (limit to one page)
    A brief statement on how the teacher intends to use the fellowship funds in accordance with the options described below. Past award winners have used the fellowship to do independent research in foreign countries, attend professional development workshops, and tour historic venues throughout the South. (Further examples for the use of funds is included in the addendum.)

    Fellowship Funds Can Be Used:

    • To cover tuition, travel and living expenses for attending humanities workshops, seminars, and conferences;
    • To cover tuition, travel and living expenses for graduate course work in the humanities, if the usefulness of the graduate work is clearly shown;
    • To cover expenses for individual research projects in the humanities. This might involve using funds in support of living and travel expenses for conducting research in the special collections of libraries, museums, institutes, colleges and universities;
    • In support of travel and living expenses for an individual learning plan in the humanities. This might involve travel to a variety of museums, historic sites, and other cultural institutions, either in the United States or abroad, which would be of direct benefit to improving the teacher's knowledge of the humanities subjects he or she teaches. (This option requires inclusion of a plan of study and a statement of how travel will promote education in the humanities.)

    Funds cannot be used:

    • In support of dissertation credit hours;
    • To support the publication of books, monographs, and booklets resulting from research;
    • To support education in disciplines other than the humanities.

    The teacher should bear in mind that the 2017 awards will not be announced until March and that funds will not be available until after April 1, 2017. Competitive nominations will include a detailed itinerary and breakdown of the estimated costs of the fellowship project.

  8. Statement on the Use of the Award to the Teacher's School (limit to one page)
    A brief statement on how the teacher plans to use the school’s award in accordance with the options described below. If choosing to spend the award on humanities materials, the teacher must state the purpose of the materials and their significance in adding value to a humanities education. (Examples for the use of funds is included in the addendum.)

    Funds can be used for:

    • the purchase of humanities instructional materials (specifically, books and films)
    • school humanities projects (ie: oral histories, school-wide research projects, lecture series).

    Funds cannot be used for:

    • the purchase of equipment including audio/visual, computers, and other equipment not deemed necessary in carrying out humanities programming.
    • school projects in an academic discipline other than the humanities (i.e.: plays, art shows, music concerts etc).

    This plan should have the approval of the appropriate administrator. * Applicants must indicate in the Statement on the Use of the Award to the Teacher's School if they prefer the school award be paid to their school or to a 501(c)3 organization that supports the school. *Competitive nominations will include a detailed cost estimation for the humanities project or list of humanities instructional materials to be purchased.

  9. Letters of Recommendation
    Four letters of recommendation are required:
    • one from a former student of the nominee;
    • one from a parent or other resident of the community where the nominee teaches who is informed about the nominee's teaching methods and experience;
    • one from a supervisory official (principal, supervisor of instruction, or superintendent);
    • one from a fellow teacher.

    These letters should address the nominee's qualities in the areas of professionalism, knowledge of the humanities subject(s) taught, teaching performance, creativity, and student success either professionally and/or personally, through personal accounts and examples. A letter of recommendation should not exceed two pages.

Nomination packets must be complete. Each nomination packet must contain all the items listed above (Section B, 1-9). Please submit nine (9) copies, original included, of the entire nomination packet on 8½ x 11-inch paper, stapled or clipped, no binders, folders or notebooks. Incomplete nomination packets will not be considered.


(Draft deadline is: December 31, 2016)

Mail nominations to:
Outstanding Educator Award
Humanities Tennessee
807 Main St, Ste B
Nashville, Tennessee 37206


A panel consisting of one teacher and/or school administrator, one member of Humanities Tennessee’s board, former teacher award recipients and other educators, will review nominations. This panel will recommend candidates to Humanities Tennessee’s board, which will make the final decision on recipients of the awards.

Award recipients will be announced in late March, and funds will be available in April.