Recognizing Innovative Projects in Support of
Cultivating Literacy & Lifelong Readers

We are proud to announce our 2016 Teacher Award Recipients


First Place
$10,000 Grant Recipient

Third Grade Teacher
Dr. Charles C. Polk Elementary School
Roselle, NJ

Elementary School Teacher Kristen Nevins was nominated for her community-based program entitled, “The Dr. Charles C. Polk University.” Designed to instill lifelong love of literacy through a six-week community-based enrichment program relying on engaged parents, high school students and community partners. Kristen’s dedication to her students and their academic achievement earned her the First Place 2016 Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Literacy.


Second Place
$5,000 Grant Recipient

English Teacher
Lewisville High School
Lewisville, TX

High School Teacher Amy Rasmussen created a way to challenge all student athletes to read a number of books with a campaign titled, “What is Your Book Number? Because all #FarmersREAD.” Earning her a Second Place 2016 Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Literacy, Amy facilitated the first ever Central Zone Reading Summit with 14 area schools encouraging teachers to use the #FarmersREAD hashtag to spotlight reading, make book recommendations and “catch students reading.”


Third Place
$2,500 Grant Recipient

Teacher Tutor
Owens Primary
Bakersfield, CA

Joyce Victor of Owens Primary School created the “1,2,3…Read with Me” program, earning her a Third Place 2016 Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Literacy. Upheld by strong community partnerships strategically centered around family reading events, her commitment to community involvement in education, along with a collaborative spirit, is clearly displayed in her thoughtful work and close connections with students and parents.


Maya Angelou Award
$10,000 Grant Recipient

English Teacher
Neuqua Valley
High School
Naperville, IL

High School Teacher Gillian Schneider’s First Place-winning Maya Angelou Teacher Awards for Poetry program is aptly titled, “You Want Me to Love Poetry? YES!” Gillian encourages students that all work is worth writing and that all words are significant enough to be heard and read. Through extensive mentoring, sharing and ultimately poetry publication, Gillian instills confidence in her students to contribute to the world conversation on beauty, morality and life.

Runner-Ups will each receive a $250 grant award for their program
and Penguin Random House Book Donation:

HOLLY ABBOTT, Barnwell Elementary School, Barnwell, SC
MARIBEL ALVAREZ, Hanby Elementary, Mesquite, TX
LAURA G. COFFIN, Lake Placid Elementary, Lake Placid, NY
LYNNE VICTORIA DOUGLAS SIMMONS, Colleton County High School, Walterboro, SC
NICHOLE FOLKMAN, Hartsburgh-Emden CUSD #21, Hartsburg, IL
ANNA HARVIN, Mount Vernon Community School, Alexandria, VA
KATIE MURPHY-OLSEN, Wellstone International High School, Minneapolis, MN
RECHELL RICHMOND, Westwood Elementary, Shreveport, LA
DR. OLIVIA RUSSO, Martin Luther King Elementary, Trenton, NJ
KATIE SAUNDERS, Bethel Elementary, Simpsonville, SC
TARA SEALE, Bryant High School, Bryant, AR
JESSICA SHEBESTA, Merwin Elementary, Cincinnati, OH
CHARITY TIRADO, Poinciana Elementary School, Key West, FL
JILL VAN DYKE, Daniel Boone Elementary, Richmond, KY
MEGAN VITTITOW, Augusta Middle School, Augusta, KS
ANDREA WOODS, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, St. Louis, MO

Do You Know a Great Teacher?

Teachers Can Apply or be Nominated to the
Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy

$10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 grant awards are available including $2,500 in Penguin Random House titles. Transportation, lodging and conference registration is also provided for the $10,000 grant recipient to attend the Penguin Random House Awards event at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in St. Louis, Missouri from November 16-19, 2017.

Application Deadline: September 15, 2017

2017 Application Form    2017 Teacher Awards Guidelines

Official Press Release    2016 Winners

Check out our highlights video and past recipients!