2016 Teacher Awards for Literacy Grant Winners

PRHTeacherAwardsLogoIglooTNailThe Penguin Random House Foundation’s 2016 Teacher Awards for Literacy winners received special grants as part of the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention during it opening session on November 17 in Atlanta, GA. The event was attended by more than 1,500 educators from around the country. The first recipient of the newly created $10,000 Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry was presented by Dr. Maya Angelou’s great granddaughter Caylin Johnson. The award specifically focuses on poetry initiatives and is awarded in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou’s legacy.

The 2016 awards also consist of a $10,000 first-place grant, one $5,000 second-place grant, and one $2,500 third-place grant for each teacher’s respective school. In addition, book donations are made to these winners. Ten additional runner-ups receive $250 grants and books donations.

teacher awardsPictured, left to right: Michael Gentile, VP, Director, Academic Marketing, Penguin Random House; Melanie Fallon-Houska, Director of Corporate Giving, Penguin Random House; Caylin Johnson, Dr. Maya Angelou’s great grand-daughter; Kristen Nevins, $10,000 Grant Recipient; Gillian Schneider, $10,000 Maya Angelou Grant Recipient; Doug Hesse, NCTE President; and Susan Houser, NCTE President-Elect

Melanie Fallon-Houska, Director, Corporate Giving, underscored Penguin Random House’s commitment to nurturing a universal passion for reading and creating lifelong readers during a short presentation, and recognized the 2016 Teacher Awards for Literacy winners and presented them with their grant awards:

  • Kristen Nevins –$10,000 Grant Recipient, Third Grade Teacher, Dr. Charles C. Polk Elementary School, Roselle, NJ
  • Gillian Schneider  – $10,000 Maya Angelou Grant Recipient, English Teacher, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, IL
  • Amy Rasmussen  – $5,000 Grant Recipient, English Teacher, Lewisville High School, Lewisville, TX
  • Joyce Victor  – $2,500 Grant Recipient, Teacher Tutor, Owens Primary School, Bakersfield, CA


Caylin Johnson

Caylin Johnson

These awards recognize the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students.  They are open to full- and part-time teachers in public schools across the United States.  Winners are awarded grants to help further their innovative reading programs and to disseminate them to other teachers around the country.

The Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy Highlights Video shows the difference these grants are making to the teachers, schools, and, most importantly, the kids. Watch the video here and go to for 2017 guidelines and application.

The first 2016 application received by September 1, 2017 will receive a free class set of Penguin Random House titles. Deadline for all applications is September 15, 2017.

tagged: Giving Back
Posted: November 21, 2016