An Award to Recognize Exemplary CMSD Teachers

Over the last year, partners at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation and the Cleveland Teachers Union have been working together to develop the CMSD Excellence in Teaching Award.

This award, intended to be an annual award, recognizes and rewards CMSD teachers who demonstrate instructional expertise, creativity and innovation in their classrooms; who make learning engaging, vibrant and relevant for students; and whose work and accomplishments set a standard of excellence for all teachers. Its purpose is to elevate the teaching profession, to motivate and inspire teachers, to allow teachers to share best educational practices with their peers, and to enhance the reputation of teachers in Cleveland.

A review team comprised of PreK–12 educators, higher education, philanthropy, and community representatives read all nominations and teacher application and identified finalists, all of whom were invited to a fall event to celebrate their work and achievements. From that group of finalists, approximately 10 CMSD teachers will be recognized as winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award. These teachers will each receive a $5,000 (taxable) award and will be asked to commit to sharing their practice with their peers in the 2016–17 school year.

Please help us find these exemplars of excellent teaching, recognize their work, reward and celebrate them and share their impact and work.

Award Process

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    The Excellence in Teaching Award is a new award that recognizes and rewards CMSD teachers who demonstrate instructional expertise, creativity and innovation in their classrooms; who make learning engaging, vibrant and relevant for students; and whose work and accomplishments set a standard of excellence. Its purpose is to elevate the teaching profession, to inspire teachers, to allow teachers to share best educational practices with peers, and to share with the broader community the incredible teaching happening in the CMSD.

  • Whose idea was it to develop the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    It was a shared idea amongst the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, The George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation and the Cleveland Teachers Union. The CMSD had the idea to recognize and celebrate excellent teaching in the district as part of its continuum of teacher development efforts. The George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation had the idea to celebrate the important work of the Cleveland Plan and the teachers who work every day to implement the plan. And the CTU had the idea of elevating the many great examples of excellent teaching and learning across the district that largely remains hidden behind classroom doors. It was truly a collaborative idea and effort.

  • Can only CMSD teachers be nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    Yes. The Excellence in Teaching Award was developed to highlight excellent teaching in the CMSD and to share excellent instructional practices across the district.

  • Will the Excellence in Teaching Award be an annual event?

    The Excellence in Teaching Award is intended to be an annual event, supported by The George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation, as part of their investment in the CMSD and the Cleveland Plan.

  • How many people will win the Excellence in Teaching Award, and what will they win?

    Approximately 10 CMSD teachers will be recognized as winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award each year. These teachers will each receive a $5,000 award, subject to income tax withholdings. There are no restrictions on how teachers spend their winnings. As part of the awards, winners will commit to sharing their practice with their peers in the 2016–17 school year.

  • Who decides who wins the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    The review team for the Excellence in Teaching Award will include PreK–12 educators, higher education, philanthropy, and community representatives. In future years, previous award winners will be part of the review team.

  • How will the review team decide the winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    The review team will consider the strength of the nomination, the teacher application, principal and colleague endorsements, and teacher performance. Reviewers will also consider the extent to which the nominees, as individuals and a cohort, can effectively share their practice with their peers in the 2016–17 school year if ultimately selected as award winners.

  • What requirements are there for winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    Throughout the 2016–17 school year, winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award will share their practice with their peers in order to improve instruction across the district. This requirement is flexible in terms of what a teacher does. Award winners may choose to post sample lessons, write and communicate about classroom practices, open classrooms for observation, create a blog, videotape instruction, run workshops, etc.

  • What if only one type of teacher—say, preschool teachers—win the Excellence in Teaching Award? How will that help me as a high school teacher in terms of sharing practice?

    Reviewers will make an effort to ensure that a cross-section of teachers (e.g. different grade levels, subject areas) are recognized each year so that teachers across the district can benefit from winner’s shared practices.

  • What if I know of a great CMSD teacher who did not receive the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    There are many great teachers in the CMSD. This process will identify some of them and surely miss others. Teachers can always be nominated in subsequent years.

  • Can a teacher be nominated more than once for the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    Yes. There is no limit as to how many people nominate a teacher, nor is there a limit to how many teachers a single person nominates.

  • Can a teacher be a winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award more than once?

    Once a person wins the Excellence in Teaching Award, she/he is not eligible for further awards for a period of ten years.

  • What if I am nominated and I don’t think I will get a strong recommendation from my principal?

    Principal recommendations are required for all teachers who complete an application, but are only one part of the deliberation. Nominated teachers will have the opportunity to describe their own work, as well as solicit an endorsement from a colleague of their choice.

  • Can I nominate myself for the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    Yes, but the strength of the nomination is one element of the deliberations.

  • When and where is the Excellence in Teaching Award Ceremony?

    The award ceremony is planned for late October or early November, at a venue in Cleveland yet to be determined. Stay tuned for updates.

  • Who will be invited to attend the Excellence in Teaching Award Ceremony?

    Award winners and a group of honorees drawn from all applicants will be invited with a guest to the Excellence in Teaching Award ceremony to celebrate their work and achievements. In addition, representatives from the CMSD, The George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the CTU and other partners will also be invited.

  • Who is paying for the Excellence in Teaching Award?

    The Excellence in Teaching Award is funded by The George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation, as part of their investment in the CMSD and the Cleveland Plan.

  • What if I have more questions?