SAN DIEGO (June 18, 2020)—In recognition of inspirational teaching nationwide, Jennifer Perrault, a second grade teacher at St. Pius X School in Yarmouth, has been named a recipient of the National University System – Sanford Teacher Award for Massachusetts on a surprise Zoom announcement.
During a year of unprecedented challenges for teachers nationwide, the Sanford Teacher Award honors the top teacher in each state and the District of Columbia with $10,000 for supporting student development and achievement in inspirational and harmonious ways. The award was established in the name of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who is committed to supporting inspiring teaching nationwide through PreK-12 programs focused on developing the social and emotional (SEL) skills of young people. Each teacher recipient is now eligible to be named the national winner of the Sanford Teacher Award, which comes with a total award of $50,000 and will be announced at a future date.
Perrault teaches her students to advocate for themselves through the use of kind words, empathy, and compassion. She helps students learn across all aspects of development–social and emotional, physical, and cognitive. She introduces multiple means for diverse learners to understand content through the diverse ways in which they learn, introducing kinesthetic movement, visuals, and hands-on learning tools. Perrault believes in positive reinforcement and differentiates her curriculum based on the individual needs of the students, addressing whatever learning challenges children face.
Perrault and the other state awardees were selected before COVID-19 shut down schools, but have continued to use online settings to support the social and emotional well-being of their students during the current crisis.
The teachers were selected by a committee of educators and faculty based on an application process that included nominations and information provided by each teacher. Sanford Teacher Award winners were selected for demonstrating high levels of inspirational teaching practices by engaging students, building student confidence, motivating students to succeed, giving students a voice and creating an inclusive environment.
The qualities reflect the mission of education-focused programs based on the vision of Sanford that are being expanded nationally through the leadership of the private, nonprofit National University System. Its anchor institution, National University, is home to the Sanford College of Education, which is one of the nation’s Top Ten largest schools of education. The Sanford Programs include Sanford Harmony, a PreK-6 social emotional learning program that helps children develop communication and collaboration skills, and the PreK-12 Sanford Inspire program that offers teachers research-based resources and lessons to create inspiring classroom experiences.
“The National University System is so pleased to be honoring the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford by recognizing inspiring teachers around the country through the Sanford Teacher Awards,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the San Diego-based National University System. “Teachers give so much of themselves to their students, schools and communities, and the Sanford Teacher Award is a way for us to celebrate the contributions of inspiring teachers who encourage children to reach their greatest potential.”
Philanthropist Sanford recalls having been “fortunate to have a few teachers who truly inspired me to learn and succeed. Educators have many similar opportunities to touch children’s lives and have had a profound influence on their lives and learning.”
The 2020 awardees will join last year’s cohorts of awardees, continue to work with the Sanford Harmony and Inspire Programs and receive training in communications and advocacy for teaching that is inspirational and grounded in social and emotional development.