New Jersey Department of Education

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Educator Recruitment, Preparation, and Recognition

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Educator Recognition

The New Jersey Department of Education recognizes the outstanding contributions of teachers and leaders in a variety of ways. Please view the following links for more information on state and national recognition programs:

  • Exemplary Educator Recognition Program: This program identifies outstanding educators for special recognition, alternating between elementary (PreK-5) and secondary (6-12) every year.  Exemplary Educators exhibit strong knowledge and skills, an inspiring presence, a rating of at least Effective on their most current final evaluation, and a positive impact on students, colleagues and the school community.  A state certificate of recognition is given out to each candidate that is selected as an Exemplary Educator.

  • Governor's Educator of the Year Program: The New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program and the Governor's Teacher/Educational Services Professionals Recognition Program have been integrated into the Governor's Educator of the Year Program.  This program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success.  Further, it seeks to attract public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system.

  • Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards: This program honors and rewards outstanding  K-12 educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contribution to the healthy development of children.  It provides national recognition, a $25,000 unrestricted financial award, and the opportunity to participate in ongoing professional development and connect with other state networks of educators.

  • New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Awards:
    Since 1985, the presidents of New Jersey's teacher training institutions have been invited to submit the Dossiers of their three most outstanding prospective teachers into competition for this annual award, which publicly recognizes the top graduates of educator preparation programs.

  • New Jersey Distinguished Cooperating Teacher Awards
    A cooperating teacher plays a critical role in supporting and guiding clinical interns.  This award recognizes excellent cooperating teachers who utilize their expertise to prepare our state's top teacher candidates for their careers as future educators.