Teacher of the Year

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics — for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment — can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
  • A $1,000 award for his/her school.
  • Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award. 

Before submitting the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form, please review the rules and eligibilities below.

Teacher of the Year Brochure

Teacher of the Year Post Entry

District Teacher Reporting Packet (District Level only, Word Docx)

Teacher of the Year

WHO SHOULD YOU NOMINATE? 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. 

HOW DO I SUBMIT A NOMINATION? 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: Download and complete the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form. Step 3: Submit the nomination form along with your explanation to your local VFW Post by Oct. 31.Note: Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Nominations submitted by relatives or self-are not eligible.

HOW THE CONTEST WORKS 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.

Department of Arizona Teacher of the Year Chair ~ Bobby Jones Post 40

Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher Award

*October 31, 2020, Teacher Nominations to the Post

November 15, Completion of Post judging

December 15, Completion of District judging

January 10, Completion of Department judging

January 15, District participation reports due to Department Chairman

*January 15, Department winners due to National

*January 31, Department reports due to National


Department of Arizona Chairman:  Russell Purnell   Email: russ195477@gmail.com