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A Teach For America corps member leads a small group activity in his classroom.

The Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award celebrates outstanding teacher leaders achieving excellent outcomes in the classroom and pursuing systems change to expand opportunities for all children.

About the Sue Lehmann Award

Imagine all of us changing the policies and practices that have historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities from receiving an equitable education. Imagine yourself not only achieving exceptional outcomes with your students but also working in coalitions to ensure these changes endure beyond the classroom. 

This annual award recognizes leaders like you who are working inside and outside of the classroom in pursuit of systems change. You’ll have an opportunity to reflect on your impact as a teacher leader or a team of teacher leaders in the fight to end educational inequity. Your reflections will fuel your own learning and commitment and also help Teach For America shape its future development of our corps members and alumni, increasing our collective impact over time.

Award recipients will receive national recognition and an invitation to celebrate and share your stories with members of the Teach For America network. Additionally, award winners will receive a total of $5,000 (for individual applications) and $10,000 (for group applications) to further your systems change effort and/or professional development. Those who apply as a group will split the award among all group members.

We believe systemic change is necessary to reach educational equity. This requires both individual and collective leadership. To that end, we have expanded the award in two key ways:

  • We are celebrating both individuals and teams of teacher leaders who are working together to change established policies or practices to expand opportunities for students.
  • The application is open to both corps members and alumni, or any combination (as a team).

Honoring Sue Lehmann

The Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership award was created to honor our longtime Teach For America board member and lifetime director by recognizing outstanding teacher leaders who pursue and achieve systemic change for students. For more than 25 years, Sue has advocated for change in the educational ecosystem locally in New York City and across the country and has helped build a network of over 60,000 leaders who are committed to this work. Sue has mentored countless corps members, alumni, and staff as they navigate careers working toward educational equity and excellence. She remains focused on students and their potential. With her support, our corps members and alumni are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, grow, influence, and lead. Sue currently serves as CEO and Co-Founder of the Student Success Network.


To be considered for the award, all applicants must:

  • Be a Teach For America alum or corps member who is currently teaching at least part-time 
  • Demonstrate that they have made a profound impact on their students, including exceptional academic achievement
  • Have achieved a systemic change in established policy or practice that is leading to a more equitable education for students

Learn more about what we are looking for regarding student impact and outcomes and systems-change leadership.

Celebrating Leaders in Education

The Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award that highlights systems-change leadership and teachers who are championing educational excellence both in and outside of the classroom.