We honor all rural teachers and administrators for their significant contributions to education throughout our nation and congratulate them for their awards and recognitions. We invite you to nominate individuals or submit an application for consideration of these coveted awards.
NREA Foundation Teacher of the Year Award
We are very proud to present the annual NREA Foundation Teacher of the Year Award to a deserving rural teacher.
- $2000 honorarium to the winner
- $1000 to the winner’s school district for the purchase of instructional materials and school supplies
- 2022 Rural Teacher of the Year: Ty White
- 2021 Rural Teacher of the Year: Laurie Smith
- 2020 Rural Teacher of the Year: Joni Carroll
- 2019 Rural Teacher of the Year: Brandi Varnell
NREA Essay Contest Award
This annual contest allows participants in three divisions: grades 3–5, middle school, and high school. Grades 3–5 may participate in a written essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric. Grades 6–12 may participate in a video essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric.
- The winner in the elementary division receives $250. The runner-up receives $100.
- The winners in the middle and high school divisions receive $400. The runner-up receives a $200 prize.
Contest Guidelines, Prompts, and Rubrics
Grades 3–5 may participate in a written essay using the provided prompt and rubric. Middle school and high school students in grades 6–12 may participate in a video contest using the provided prompt and rubric. Any student who attends a rural school may participate. Please see the information below for contest guidelines and rubrics.
NREA Foundation Hall of Fame Award
The Foundation Board of Trustees gives a yearly award to a current member of the NREA who has served for a minimum of five years and has given significant contributions in service to the NREA as well as to his/her local rural school district, state, or the nation in the field of rural education.
- Jerry White: Inducted in 2022
- Scott Turney: Inducted in 2021
- Phil Gerik: Inducted in 2021
- Jules Waber: Inducted in 2019
- Barb Havlicek: Inducted in 2018
- Ray Patrick: Inducted in 2018
- Mary Lou Gammon: Inducted in 2015
- Jack Sanders: Inducted in 2015 – Rural Researcher
- Claudette Morton: Inducted in 2015 – Montana Rural Education Leader
- Don Rogers: Inducted in 2015 – Texas Rural Education Association Executive Director
- Al Eads: Inducted in 2012 – Past President 2003
- Patricia Laubach: Inducted in 2010 – North Dakota Past President 1990
- George Brown: Inducted in 2010 – Texas Past President 2001
- Travis Cliett: Inducted in 2010 – Mississippi Executive Committee Member
- John Sullivan: Inducted in 2009 – Kansas Past President 1999 and Auctioneer
- Edward W. Chance: Inducted in 2009 – Oklahoma and Nevada Research Leader
- V. Pauline Hodges: Inducted in 2008 – Oklahoma Past President 1998
- E. Robert Stephens: Inducted in 2008 – Iowa Past President 1972
- Joe Newlin: Inducted in 2007 – Colorado Executive Secretary 1980–1999
- Ray Drage: Inducted in 2007 – Ohio Past President 1979
- Submission deadline: The foundation board will invite and select.
- Hall of Fame Nomination Criteria and Process