2024 Nomination Process and Requirements

2024 Nomination Packet (dossier instructions & nomination form-downloadable)

Princeton University invites middle and high schools in the State of New Jersey to nominate an exceptional teacher, or team of two co-teachers, for the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching.  

Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching was established in 1959 and each year four honorees are chosen from applicants from public and private schools in New Jersey. These teachers represent the finest secondary teachers in the state and are honored at Princeton University's Commencement. Through the generosity of an anonymous alumnus, each of the prize winners receives $5,000, and the 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.  


The nominee’s major activity a (minimum of three-fifths) 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 effect 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.

Nomination Materials

Nominees will need to complete a Nomination Form as part of their nomination submission. We can only accept  nominations 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 2021, 2022 and 2023 is not eligible to submit a nominee, nor should previous prize winners be nominated again. 

In addition, a nominee will need to submit (in one PDF file) a Nomination Dossier with the following materials:

  1.  A letter of support written by the nominator or by a designee. The nominator may request that the letter of support be written by the administrator or department head who can best attest to the nominee’s work. Please note that the letter of nomination is most  useful when, rather than repeating information from the nominee’s resume, it describes specifically how the nominee’s work reflects the selection criteria.
  2.  Nominee’s resume of no more than two pages.
  3.  A letter of support from one other colleague of the nominee. We urge that the letter of support describe in detail how the nominee’s exceptional qualities and performance have contributed to teaching and learning in the school setting as well as in the larger community.
  4.  Letters of support from two students whom the nominee has taught within the last five years (2019-2023). Students are asked to identify the grade level in which they are currently enrolled and to indicate when and in which class(es) they were taught by this teacher. Students’ letters are particularly helpful when they contain specific examples of the impact that the teacher’s work had on them as individuals and on their classmates.
  5.  A personal statement of no more than two pages from the nominee that will provide the selection committee with a sense of that person’s perspective on his/her work. In this statement, the nominee should describe an important episode in his/her teaching career and discuss its significance to the student(s) involved, to the school community, and to the nominee’s teaching career.
  6.  The nominee’s complete teaching schedule.
  7.  For school leaders nominating two teachers who are co-teaching, please include:
  • A letter of support written by the nominator or by a designee on behalf of the two teachers;
  • A copy of each teacher’s resume;
  • A letter of support from one other colleague of the teachers;
  • Letters of support from two students whom the teachers have co-taught within the past five years (2019-2023);
  • One co-written personal statement of no more than two pages from the teachers that will provide the selection committee a sense of the teachers’ perspective on their work;
  • The teachers’ complete teaching schedules.

We are unable to accept or consider any other materials then described above.

Please note this year only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please email all nomination materials to: [email protected] by December 8, 2023.

School Observations: The nomination process includes school observations of the teachers selected as finalists during February and March.

Princeton University Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching recipients will be honored at the Princeton University Commencement on May 28th, 2024 and each prize recipient will receive $5,000, with an additional $3,000 awarded to their school’s library. Applicants should be prepared to attend the ceremony if they are awarded the prize. The University will continue to monitor the pandemic and will adjust the prize recognition plans if necessary. The winners and nominees will be notified of the outcome of the selection process in early May.

Princeton takes great 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.