Teacher of the Year

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics — for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment — can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
  • A $1,000 award for his/her school.
  • Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award. 

Before submitting the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form, please review the rules and eligibility requirements.


And the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year winners are ...

Theresa EarlyTheresa Early, a fourth-grade special education teacher at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., has been named the 2017 winner at the elementary school level.


Donna KregelkaJeffrey Benes, an Iraq War veteran and a seventh-grade geography teacher at Antioch Middle School in Gladstone, Mo., was named the 2017 middle school winner.


William EllerySteve Johnson, a science teacher at Churchill County High School in Fallon, Nev., was named the 2017 high school winner.


Want to receive updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Simply sign up using the scholarship program's teacher request form.