Who will win the $20,000 prize?
Recommend a teacher for the $20K #BestInEducation award today!Every year, we award a $10,000 prize to one outstanding K-12 teacher or school administrator, and also a $10,000 grant to the winner’s school or district. In 2015, the award went to Philadelphia principal, Lisa Kaplan (see 2015 winner here and 2015 finalists here). This year, in 2016, the prize is going to a teacher and the winner’s school.
Winners of the Escalante-Gradillas prize exemplify the commitment to learning, discipline, character-building, and high expectations that characterized Garfield High School when Jaime Escalante taught there and Henry Gradillas was its principal.
When we created the Escalante-Gradillas Prize in 2014, we awarded $10,000 to each of three founding recipients: the late Jaime Escalante (awarded to his wife Fabiola), Henry Gradillas, and Angelo Villavicencio, a close colleague of Escalante. Together, they set the standard for all future prize winners.
About the prize:
The 2016 Escalante-Gradillas Prize will go to a primary or secondary school teacher (grades K–12) who works in the United States and through whose efforts students are achieving remarkable academic success. (The 2017 prize will go to a primary or secondary school principal, administrator, or superintendent of like description.)
Whom should you nominate?
For the 2016 Best in Education prize we’re looking for a teacher who is having a huge positive impact on students, making a real difference not just for the present but also for the rest of their lives.
In awarding the prize, our watchword is “more from less.” As with Jaime Escalante and Henry Gradillas (the inspiration for and the namesakes of this prize), the best candidates are those who overcome stiff challenges and yet are still able to inspire their students to the highest levels of academic achievement.
The kinds of challenges a prize winner has to overcome can come from any corner. Perhaps your nominee is facing a community racked with poverty, maybe a hurricane or tornado has devastated your neighborhood? Perhaps there’s a local drug problem endangering students’ well-being? Perhaps there’s simply been a history of mediocrity, complacency, or a lack of discipline that must be hurdled? Your community’s challenges are as unique as the teachers and educators who rise to the challenge.
I strongly believe that the role of principal gave me the opportunity to make the most significant difference in promoting student academic achievement, as well as promoting student belief in self-worth, a can-do-it attitude, and that there is no limit to what can be achieved. — Henry Gradillas
Tell us about it!
The ideal prize winner is resourceful, making the most of what’s available. Winners are wise, practical, innovative when necessary yet still “old school” where good sense requires. Above all, winners must show results, with students demonstrating marked improvement in academic abilities.
The focus of this prize is on academics, not sports or band or any other extracurricular activity. This is not to deny the value of extracurricular activity. But success in extracurricular activity must, in our view, be tied to success in curricular activity, that is, academics.
First, all you need to do is fill out the form above, which is a simplified entry form.
After the deadline, we’ll examine each entry and for any that are qualified, we’ll get back in touch with you and the nominee for more details for our judging panel.
Remember, 2016’s winner needs to be a teacher working at a K–12 school in the US.
How will the winner be judged?
We have a select group of panelists with deep experience in both education and administration, including a founding prize recipient — Henry Gradillas himself — and an author who has researched and written extensively about Jaime Escalante, our prize’s other founding recipient.
Recommend a teacher for the $20K #BestInEducation award today!We must have all submissions in by June 1, 2016. Once all preliminary documents are received, TheBestSchools.org will compile a shortlist. At that point, we’ll ask for some additional materials to help us make out decision (such as additional documentation, news stories, video, and so on). At that point, everything must be in by August 31, 2016. A panel of judges will then evaluate these materials and announce the winner in early October.
There can be only one, but there are no losers!
We’re excited to find out what your school administrators are up to. Even if your submission doesn’t win this year, we may feature your administrator’s story in a future article.
For more information about the educators who inspired this prize, you should check out our article about Jaime Escalante and our exclusive interview with Henry Gradillas. While you’re at it, be sure to read our interview with standout teacher and protégé of Jaime Escalante, Angelo Villavicencio.
If you’re a blogger or in the media, you may want to access our media files page for access to prize-related button, badge, and banner images.