AMLE Educator of the Year

The AMLE Educator of the Year (previously known as the Distinguished Educator Award) is an annual award given by the Association for Middle Level Education. This award recognizes outstanding practitioners in middle level education—those who have made an impact on the lives of young adolescents with a significant body of work and have advanced the field of middle level education through leadership, vision, and advocacy.

Selection Criteria

  • Candidate must have five or more years of practical application, implementation, influence, or involvement in middle level education at the local level and the state or national level.
  • Candidate must be employed in the field of middle level education on a full-time basis.
  • Candidate must be a current professional or school member of the Association for Middle Level Education and is encouraged to be a member of the state/local affiliate.
  • Current AMLE staff, Board of Trustees, and selection committee members are not eligible for this award. Past Lounsbury Award and former AMLE Educator of the Year winners also are not eligible.

To Nominate a Candidate

  • Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by colleagues or members of the community. If you nominate a candidate, please notify them of their nomination.
  • Complete the AMLE Educator of the Year form by May 31 for consideration during the current year.

Download Nomination Form

Nominated Candidates

  • Upon certification of selection criteria, candidates will be mailed an AMLE Educator of the Year nominee form.
  • Candidate must submit a narrative that speaks directly to at least three of the following traits. Narratives describing all three traits can be no more than 1500 words in length.
    • Positively impacting the lives of young adolescents on a daily basis
    • Implementing middle level change and reform at the local level and state or national level
    • Implementing recommendations outlined in This We Believe  by clearly providing examples of how the successful implementation of characteristics impact student learning
    • Mentoring, coaching, or teaching educators in middle level practice and philosophy
    • Providing knowledge, advocacy, and support to the middle level movement
    • Exhibiting exceptional leadership at the local level as well as the state or national level
    • Providing a voice for middle level throughout your school, district, and state or national level.
    • Expressing middle level beliefs via written or oral communication at the state and/or national level.
  • Candidate must submit a resume (two page) that details his or her experience, history, or awards in middle level education.
  • Candidate can submit up to ten one-sided examples of supporting documentation, which must include at least four letters of recommendation, one of which is from the nominee's immediate supervisor; one from a student, former student or parent, colleague(s), or from someone who currently reports or previously reported to the candidate; and may include one from the state/local affiliate. Other examples can include newspaper clippings, programs, sample writings, or other pertinent material.
  • Complete the AMLE Educator of the Year nominee form, include additional materials, and submit to the AMLE office by the published due date.

Selection Committee

The Committee's sole function is to consider nominations for the award and make a recommendation to the AMLE Board of Trustees.


  • The selection committee shall be comprised of up to five (5) members:
    3–Current AMLE members of varying job responsibilities (Non-Board)
    1–The current Vice Chair
    1–Current Trustee
    Note: A current AMLE staff member will serve on an ex-officio basis
  • Chair of the committee shall be the Vice Chair. The Chair will appoint the committee members.
  • Committee members serve a one-year term and could be asked to serve additional terms.
  • Members of the award selection committee may not nominate candidates.

Selection Process

  • A Call for Nominations will be made at least once per year in an appropriate AMLE publication and on the website.
  • All nominations will be sent to AMLE headquarters, dated, checked for required information, and filed with the committee chair for consideration by the committee. Headquarters will notify the nominator that the nomination has been received.
  • The annual deadline for receipt of nominations is the last week of April. The selection committee will determine the specific date.
  • The AMLE liaison will send the nominee materials to the selection committee members for review.
  • The selection committee will teleconference to determine the recommendation for the current year's Award recipient.
  • The chair will inform the Board of the committee's recommendation and the Board will make the final determination of the year's Award recipient.
  • The recipient and nominator will be notified by the end of July.
  • Applications will be kept on file for three years.


The Award recipient shall receive the following:

  • A plaque that will be presented at the Association for Middle Level Education annual conference
  • A one-year individual membership to the Association for Middle Level Education
  • Complimentary registration and lodging to the annual conference at which the award will be presented
  • $1,000 cash award from the AMLE Foundation Fund

Joe Welch

Teacher, Pennsylvania

Amber Chandler

Teacher, New York
Sandra Kowalczyk
Reading Specialist, Wisconsin

David D. McDonald

Assistant Superintendent, South Carolina

Randy Jensen

Principal, Idaho

Allison Glickman-Rogers

Principal, New York

Michelle Owens Hayward

Principal, Arkansas

Bob Heaberlin

Principal, Georgia

Jim Heston

Instructional Specialist, Texas

Yvonne Rambo

Principal, Indiana

Elizabeth Fogartie

Administrator, Georgia

Karen Brown

Administrator, Pennsylvania

Jane Feber

Teacher, Florida

Kathy Shewey

Teacher, Florida

Kim Williams

Teacher, Idaho

Elizabeth Dore

Teacher, Virginia

V. Christine Waggoner

Principal, North Carolina

Ed Vittardi

Administrator, Ohio

Robert Caplinger

Administrator, Oregon

Pam Millikan

Administrator, Indiana

Mark Springer

Teacher, Pennsylvania

Craig Martin

Teacher/Administrator, Massachusetts

Maureen Furr

Principal, North Carolina