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Teachers Award

Each year three exceptional teachers are recognized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students. The VFW annually recognizes the nation's top classroom elementary, junior high and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics—at least half of the school day in a classroom environment-and promote America's history, traditions and institutions effectively. The Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award (Teacher of the Year) national winners will receive: 

  • A $1,000 award to the top K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade teachers for professional development expenses.
  • $1,000 award for each winning teacher's school.
  • Plaques for both the winning teacher and school.
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference and receive their award.


Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for the award.

If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them.


Step 1: In 350 words or less, describe why you feel your nominee is deserving of the award. Be sure to describe the teacher's innovative teaching and resource development methods, as well as his or her dedication to education.

Step 2: Complete the VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form.

Step 3: Submit the nomination form along with your explanation to your local VFW Post by February 15th.

Note: Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Nominations submitted by relatives or self are not eligible.


Based on the nominees submitted, VFW's local chapters - called Posts - will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Posts then submit their winning names to their District-level judging.

From there, the selected winners are forwarded to the Department-level (state-level). Once they are judged on a state level, the winners are passed along to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.



SPECIAL NOTE: Anyone may nominate a teacher except for the teacher himself or herself (or the teacher's relative.) While a school official may nominate a teacher, permission from a school or district is not required.

For a sample Press Release check here.

Please make sure your entries include:

1. Original entry form and essay of 350 words or less (both signed by person nominating teacher.)

2. Official Post Teacher Entry Form w/signatures at Post, District and Department level. (see enclosed).

3. One page resume (no more than two sides).

4. Up to 5 pages (both sides) of additional documentation (i.e. news articles, supervisors recommendations).

5. Good quality head and shoulders photograph (low grade computer printouts will not be accepted).

Contact Teacher Award Chairman Brian DeMeritt with any questions