By: iNACOL Staff

Across the nation, educators and school leaders are working tirelessly to re-create the learning experience typical of the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to school. Each day they are inspiring and empowering students to take ownership of their learning, their lives and their future. District leaders are racking up small policy wins—even while accepting setbacks—to push the envelope of what’s possible with education. Yet, most days these pioneers go unrecognized and unheard.

iNACOL, a leading national nonprofit dedicated to transforming education systems and accelerating policy and practice to ensure high-quality learning for all, wants to change all that.

Each year, iNACOL honors and celebrates education innovation pioneers for their work in personalized, competency-based education. Nominations are now being accepted for the iNACOL Teacher of the Year and Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning awards. Honorees will be announced at the iNACOL Symposium in Nashville, TN, which runs October 21-24, 2018.

Listen to Rachel Moola, iNACOL’s 2017 Teacher of the Year describe what it feels like to have her work be recognized, and why despite the many reasons to give up, she persists in creating transformative learning experiences. Rachel is a 7th grade ELA teacher and personalized learning coach at East Pennsboro Area Middle School in Enola, PA.

Here Shawn Rubin, chief education officer at the Highlander Institute, offers hope for moving education transformation forward fast in these early, messy days of trying something new with learning models. Shawn took home iNACOL’s Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning Award in 2017.

iNACOL needs to receive your intention to nominate for its Innovator Awards by August 31, 2018, but you have until September 7, 2018 to submit the final nomination package. To notify the awards committee of your intent to nominate simply send an email with the following information:

  • Nominator’s contact information (name, organization, title, phone, email)
  • The name of the nominee (name, organization, title, phone, email)
  • The award category that you are nominating the person for

Here are a few details on who’s eligible for each award category.

Teacher of the Year Award

The iNACOL Teacher of the Year Award is given to a K-12 educator whose efforts as a personalized learning teacher exemplify to the highest degree their commitment to student success, knowledge and skill as a professional educator, and dedication to students. Requirements include:

  • Teaching candidate must currently be serving (at the time the application is submitted) as a personalized learning teacher in grades K-12.
  • At least 75% of the teacher’s instructional time is spent as an educator working in a personalized learning environment.
  • The nomination of an individual can be submitted by the individual or by a reference who is able to support the nomination through personal involvement with the nominee.

Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning Award

This award is bestowed upon an individual whose insight and innovation has significantly increased the credibility and advancement of K-12 personalized, competency-based education. The award is a tribute to the individual’s outstanding work and leadership in the field, and it recognizes an overall body of work, not merely an isolated breakthrough. The recipient can be:

  • Any individual who has worked in, or provided support to, the field of K-12 personalized, competency-based learning
  • Self-nominated or nominated by a reference who can support the nomination through personal involvement with the nominee

Please don’t nominate the same person for both awards. And note, only one nomination per organization or school will be considered.

Additional information, including additional eligibility requirements and nomination forms, is available on our iNACOL Innovator Awards page. Questions about the process can be sent here.


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