English Teacher Awards


The WNYNET English Teacher Awards recognize English educators in the Buffalo-Niagara region who have shown a commitment to the young people of our region through the meaningful teaching of English Language Arts in grades 7-12.

- The New and Early Career English Teacher Award is given to an educator that has taught 7-12 English for 1-5 years. Recipients of this award are developing as leaders in their departments and schools. They engage in meaningful, reflective practice within their classroom and work to connect teaching to their students’ lived experiences. They incorporate new technology and current research in the field to significantly enhance student engagement.

- The Mid-Career English Teacher Award is given to an educator that has taught 7-12 English for 6-20 years. Recipients of this award demonstrate the same commitments as above while also assuming leadership roles in their districts and Western New York through the mentoring of new and pre-service teachers, their engagement in local, regional, and national professional networks (such as WNYNET, NYSEC, NCTE) and in other capacities that support and encourage meaningful teaching in our region.

- The Lifetime Achievement in English Teaching Sponsored by Just Buffalo Literary Center is given to an educator that has taught 7-12 English for over 20 years. Recipients of this award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the meaningful teaching of English Language Arts throughout their careers. In addition to the above, these teachers have served as leaders in their communities, worked for many years as mentor teachers, and have continued to develop their understanding and advocacy for meaningful English teaching in our region, state, and country.

- The Administrative Leadership in Support of English Language Arts Award is given to building and district administrators who have supported the meaningful teaching of English Language Arts in their schools and/or districts.

Who can nominate an educator?

Anyone can nominate an educator. This includes colleagues, parents, administrators, pre-service teachers, educational professionals, or any member of the community.

Nominations will be reviewed by the Western New York English Teachers officers according to the standards set forth by the organization.

How does WNYNET define meaningful teaching in the English Language Arts classroom?

To define what constitutes meaningful English teaching, The Western New York Network of English teachers draws from standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of English as well as leading researchers and teachers in the field of secondary English education.

While meaningful teaching can be described in many ways, the following characteristics may be helpful in determining potential award recipients. Teachers that may qualify for these awards are teachers who:

  • Honor the distinctive power of texts of all kinds, from the written word to compositions in multiple modes by recognizing their transformative power in the lives and learning of students.

  • Draw from authentic, research-based teaching practices

  • Create classroom spaces where students engage in powerful, agentive literacy work.

  • Honor the lived experiences of students through their selection of curricular materials, and composing opportunities.

  • Create classroom communities where students develop identities as readers, writers, and critical thinkers.

  • Respect students’ gender, sexual identity, home languages, and cultures through curricular choices, teaching methods, and learning activities.

  • Engage in multiple forms of literacy learning with their students, including work with the written word, visual arts, multimedia and digital compositions.

  • Engage in meaningful conversations around texts of all kinds.

  • Develop students’ critical literacy.

  • Create rich textual environments.

  • Commit to students literacy learning outside of the classroom through engagement in extracurricular work including, but not limited, school newspapers, literary magazines, yearbook production, theatrical productions and other activities.

  • Care deeply about students.

  • Are in constant pursuit of ways to improve their teaching and therefore, their students’ learning.

  • Serve as advocates for students and for their profession, recognizing the knowledge and power of members of the school community.

  • Meet additional criteria for meaningful 7-12 English teaching as set forth by local schools and districts in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Nominate an Educator for the 2023 awards

To nominate an educator please use this form. Nominations are due February 6th, 2023