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
The initial application will open on Monday, April 6, 2020, and will close on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Given the rigor of the application, we recommend that you begin compiling your application materials as early as possible during the application window. Some pieces of the application may take several weeks to create.
Candidates must complete the online application to be considered for the award. If you are applying as a group of teachers, you will note that in the application. Each teacher will complete their own initial application and the team can upload the same responses to Round 2 if invited.
Initial application components include:
- Reflections about your leadership in the classroom including your vision and/or goals for students and impact
- Excerpts from your classroom instruction including a sample teaching video with student learning, planning documents, your assessment on the lesson’s impact, reflections, etc.
- Video interview with two students about your classroom
- Student waivers for any students filmed
- Student work samples
- Student achievement data
- Any additional classroom artifacts you wish to submit demonstrating student learning and impact
Please review the full Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Application Guide to help you prepare for the online application. All three application rounds are included in the application guide so you may begin preparing your reflections should you be asked to continue in the process. You will be notified if you are moving to Round 2 by June 29, 2020.
For candidates moving forward in the process, you will complete the Round 2 application questions within the applicant portal. We will also ask you to confirm your final student achievement data for the year.
Want to learn more about “systems change” and our Theory of Leadership? Check out an excerpt from this year’s incoming corps member prework.
Round 2 application components include:
Responses about a change you have led in an established policy, practice, way of being, or operating, etc., including its impact on students. What was the change? How did you approach the change? What impact have you seen so far? Will it endure?
If you are applying as a team of teacher leaders, this is the section of the application that you would work on together and upload your co-created responses to your individual applications.
You will be notified if you are moving to Round 3 by July 17, 2020.
Each applicant or team of applicants moving forward in the process will be invited to a virtual interview. Before your interview, you will have Round 3 application questions and a few short tasks (such as selecting your virtual interview time) to complete.
Round 3 application components include:
- Reflections on Teach For America’s core values and commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness
- Reflections on relationships with students and families
- Reflections on your growth and impact as a leader
- Your final opportunity to submit your final student achievement data. (Please note: awards will not be given without confirming strong academic achievement.)
After completing Round 3, you will be notified by email if you are a finalist by early August 2020. Winners will be announced and celebrated mid-fall.
|Application Round||Deadline||Notification Window|
|Round 1: Your Classroom Leadership and Student Interviews||Monday, June 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST||
You will find out if you are moving to Round 2 by Monday, June 29, 2020.
If you are moving on, you will have reflections questions and another opportunity to submit your final student achievement data for the year (if you have not already) by Monday, July 6, 2020. Please see the application guide for details on Round 2 tasks and make note of the turnaround time.
|Round 2: Your Leadership Towards Systems Change||Monday, July 6, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST||
You will find out if you are moving to Round 3 no later than Wednesday, July 17, 2020.
If you are moving on, you will have reflections questions, a few short tasks, and a final opportunity to submit your final student achievement data for the year (if you have not already) by Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Please see the application guide for details on Round 3 tasks and make note of the turnaround time.
You will select your virtual interview time slot between July 24, 2020 and July 29, 2020.
|Round 3: You as a Leader||Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST||
After you complete your final tasks in the application and your virtual interview, you will find out if you are a finalist for this year’s award by Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Winners will be announced in October.
- Sue Lehmann Application Guide
- Student Indicators and Broader Outcomes Wheel
- Teach For America’s Foundations (core values and DEI commitment)
- Theory of Leadership
- Theory of Leadership and Systems Change Resources
If you have any additional questions about the application process, please check out our FAQ resource or reach out to a member of your TFA regional team. All other questions can be sent to email@example.com.