Awards & Grants

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Awards & Grants

PSEA members are doing incredible things in their schools and classrooms every day. 

PSEA offers a wide range of award and grant programs to support and encourage these accomplishments and to reward educators and support professionals for their amazing work.

Celebrating Excellence Awards

The Celebrating Excellence Awards include PSEA's Adler Friend of Education Award and the Human and Civil Rights Awards. Honorees are selected by the PSEA Adler/Human & Civil Rights Selection Committee, which is comprised of members from across the state. The winners are confirmed by the PSEA Board of Directors. Awards are presented each spring at the Celebrating Excellence dinner prior to the start of the PSEA House of Delegates.

The Adler Award honors an individual who has made outstanding statewide contributions to public education.

Our Human and Civil Rights Awards honor individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to help advance civil liberties, equality, and who have been leaders making impacts within our schools and communities on human and civil rights.

Fabric of Unionism Awards

The Jenifer J. DuBois Fabric of Unionism art competition invites PSEA members and their students to submit entries capturing the development of the labor movement, its historical importance and its necessity in the future. 

Fabric of Unionism includes two award categories: one for PSEA members and one for public school students. Prizes for each contest include a grand prize of $1,000, a second prize of $500, and a third prize of $250.

Winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony where winning artwork will be on display.

Innovative Teaching Grants

Congratulations 2023 Winners!

Cheryl Hodany, Jenna Mitchell, Lauren Shannon - Destination Innovation

Nicolle McClain - We Put the LIFE (Living-Independence-Future-Employability) in Life Skills

Donnique Sharpe - To The Thingiverse and Beyond!

Lauren Beinhower - Dux, Dux, Dux, DESIGN!

How to apply

PSEA promotes excellence in education through the Innovative Teaching Grants program, created to recognize PSEA members for contributions to innovative instruction.

Each year, up to four $1,500 grants are awarded to teachers, librarians, education support professionals, instructional teams, pupil services personnel, higher education staff, PSEA retirees (when working with a PSEA teacher), and/or student PSEA members. PSEA’s Council on Instruction and Professional Development recommends grant applicants to the PSEA Board of Directors each year with grantees recognized at the PSEA Spring House of Delegates held in May of each year.

All applications and supporting materials must be received electronically by Feb. 1 of each year by 5 p.m.

For more information about PSEA's Innovative Teaching Grants, contact Katie Lewis (

Check out the ITG Flyer for more details or apply below. 

Scoring Rubric

Leadership in Promoting Intergroup Relations Awards

The Leadership in Promoting Intergroup Relations Awards Program was created by the PSEA Intergroup Relations Commission (IRC) in 1975 and is administered by a special IRC subcommittee.

The IRC award recognizes individuals and local associations who demonstrate continuous commitment to interweave school and relationships.

Examples of eligible activities:

  • Team building
  • Association and community partnerships
  • Diverse cultures working together

How to apply

The 2017 award nomination process is now closed. 

Application materials for 2018 awards will be available soon.

The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence

Celebrate the work of public school educators: Nominate an NEA member for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Each year, the NEA invites state, federal, and direct affiliates to nominate one outstanding educator for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence.

All current members of an NEA local affiliate or bargaining unit are eligible, including teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff.


How to apply

PSEA is accepting nominations for the NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. All applications and supporting materials must be received electronically by Feb. 1 of each year by 5 p.m.

How to apply:
Review the NEA Foundation's guidelines for the 2025 Teaching Excellence Awards and submit the following materials to PSEA:

  • Resume (two pages maximum)
  • Awardee's statement (3,400 words maximum)
    Please refer to the instructions for the awardee's statement in the nomination guidelines.
  • Endorsement letters (up to three letters, two pages maximum each)
  • Digital photo (school picture or something similar)

Send application materials to Katie Lewis ( by 5 p.m., Feb. 1 of each year.

2025 Awards of Teaching Excellence Application

A subcommittee of PSEA's Instruction and Professional Development Council will review all submissions and make a recommendation to PSEA President Rich Askey for the one applicant who will represent Pennsylvania. 

Five affiliate nominees will receive the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, which includes $10,000 and recognition as one of the nation's top educators at the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in February in Washington, DC.

At the gala, one educator will receive the event's coveted title, the $25,000 NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence.

For more information, contact  

Local Involvement Grants

The PSEA Local Involvement Grant Program is designed to help local associations or groups of locals conduct activities to strengthen public support and appreciation for the preservation and improvement of local public schools in their communities.

These grants are designed to help local associations (or groups of local associations) conduct activities that involve members in their communities as part of a local association community outreach program. Through the program, PSEA will match local funding at a ratio of $3 for each $1 committed by the local association(s) involved.

How to apply

For more information about Local Involvement Grants or to request application materials, contact your UniServ representative or Region Advocacy Coordinator (RAC).

Lucy Valero Scholarships

The Lucy A. Valero Scholarship Fund, administered by PSEA, provides scholarships to outstanding Pennsylvania college and university students who are enrolled in accredited teacher preparation programs. The fund also provides a scholarship to a high school student who is a member of Educators Rising PA. Applicants must be members in good standing of Student PSEA or Educators Rising PA. Scholarships are presented at the annual Student PSEA Conference & Convention.

Lucy Valero spent 18 years working with PSEA’s student program, building it into one of the strongest in the nation. Her friends and colleagues created the memorial fund to recognize her dedicated service. The scholarship program aims to attract capable new teachers to the profession.

How to apply

Scholarship recipients are chosen by the trustees of the Lucy A. Valero Memorial Scholarship Fund, comprised of PSEA officers and staff, and the president of Student PSEA. 

Applications must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2024. 

Welfare Grants

The PSEA Education Foundation provides financial assistance to PSEA members who are experiencing dire hardship through illness, disability, and/or financial need.

Applications are submitted to the PSEA Retirement & Welfare Committee, which reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the PSEA Education Foundation. 

How to apply

Grant applications will be considered on a reasonable needs basis. Applicants must be PSEA members. To access grant application materials, you will need your member login and password.