Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching

In the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall, Director of the Program in Teacher Preparation Todd Kent (left) and Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber (third from left) honor four exceptional New Jersey secondary school teachers on Commencement Day 2018. They are (from left) Irma Seltzer, Christene Willitts, Eleni Coyle and Sean Turkington.

Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications

Each year since 1959, Princeton University has honored at its Commencement four outstanding New Jersey teachers from public and independent schools for their contributions to the lives of the state’s secondary school students and to their school communities.  Through the generosity of an anonymous alumnus, each of the prize winners receives $5,000, and each winner’s school receives an additional $3,000 for the purchase of library books.

We invite nominations of exceptional teachers or a team of two co-teachers who have demonstrated highly effective engagement with their students in the teaching and learning process, dedicated service to their school and community, and significant commitment to their own professional growth as lifelong learners. In short, we seek nominees whose work has had an especially important influence on the lives of young people and on the school(s) in which they have taught. 

Each secondary school in New Jersey is invited to forward one nomination to the Selection Committee. The nominee’s major activity must be secondary school classroom teaching (grades 7 –12), and that person must have at least five years of continuous service in the nominating school or school
district. The Committee will look, first and foremost, for concrete examples of the impact of the nominee’s teaching on his/her students, and will also look for specific instances of the nominee’s contributions to the school and the community, as well as consider how the nominee’s achievements reflect
his/her philosophy of education.

We ask that nominations be signed by the superintendent, principal, or head of school (we do not accept nominations from teachers themselves.) A school that has had a recipient of the award in the last three years is not eligible to submit a nominee, nor should previous prize winners be nominated again. The nomination packet is available here DSST 2019 Nomination packet.pdf

Princeton takes pleasure in being able to recognize New Jersey’s outstanding secondary school teachers. We hope you will give this program your active support in your school and we look forward to receiving your nomination!