Amazon announces Teacher of the Year award recipients
Amazon is proud to announce and honor the first-ever Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipients—10 all-star teachers working diligently to help students in underserved and underrepresented communities build life-changing skills to propel their futures in computer science. These award-winning teachers focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in computer science and beyond in the following schools:
- Bronx Academy of Letters, Bronx, NY
- Canyon Ridge High School, San Bernardino, CA
- Carl Hayden High School, Phoenix, AZ
- Gonzales High School, Gonzales, California
- KIPP Columbus High School, Columbus, OH
- KIPP DC College Prep High School, Washington, D.C.
- Riverside High School, Charleston, WV
- Southport High School, Indianapolis, IN
- West Mesquite High School, Mesquite, TX
- Whites Creek Comprehensive High School, Whites Creek, TN
To share the great news with each of the winning teachers, Amazon worked with their principals and fellow teachers to surprise them. From video conference calls to contactless doorstep deliveries, Amazon Future Engineer celebrated each teacher alongside their excited colleagues, even while apart. Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumer, Jeff Wilke, also made one of the surprise calls.
"Teachers are beloved in communities across the country, and we are excited to celebrate their hard work, passion, and commitment to their students' future success," said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Amazon Worldwide Consumer. "Computer science skills will be of vital importance as we take on and solve the challenges of the future. We are thrilled to honor these teachers, many of whom work with students in underserved and underrepresented communities, with our first Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards."
Each of the ten award-winning teachers received a prize package valued at over $50,000 to be used to benefit his or her school and students. In addition to the contest’s original $25,000 award, Amazon is donating an additional $25,000 in school supplies, including Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablets, classroom essentials from AmazonBasics, and additional items from Amazon Essentials. In their Amazon Future Engineer swag box, award recipients also received one full year of Amazon Music Unlimited and a 12-month Audible.com Gold Gift Membership. In this inaugural year of the award, Amazon is also recognizing each of the hundreds of applicants with a $200 Amazon gift card to celebrate their hard work on behalf of computer science students across the country.
Award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator, and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. Scholarship America reviewed applicants and selected the award recipients. Amazon awarded ten teachers from across the country the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award.
Get to know some of our award-winning Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipients below:
Bronx Academy of Letters, Bronx, New York
"It is a privilege to be selected for this award. I was speechless (ask anyone who's known me for more than 10 minutes, and they'll tell you that I'm very rarely without words) when it was announced and honored to be surrounded by my team and esteemed colleagues. Growing up, I didn't see many faces like mine in education, whether they were male or a person of color. I grew up in a single-parent, low-income, household. Although my mother got creative and made sure to provide us with resources or alternative resources to broaden our horizons, not all families are as privileged. I started teaching to make an impact on the lives of all students, to be an ally to students of color who often don't see themselves reflected in the staff of their schools, and to try to broaden the horizons of those students who might not have access to the same resources as those from higher income families. Computer science related work is the new booming industry, and a career in computer science can be life changing."
KIPP Columbus High
“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from Amazon, and so excited to explore how we can use the generous gift to expand computer science education at KIPP Columbus High. It means so much to me to know that the work I have been doing to build a growing computer science department for my students, who are traditionally underrepresented in CS fields, is valued by Amazon and the larger community. I am grateful for the Amazon Future Engineers program for the work you do to increase access to computer science education for students from underserved communities.”
Gonzales High School, Gonzales, CA
Being a part of the Amazon Future Engineer program means that our students can say they participate in a nationally recognized program that connects them to other students, experts, and a support network that shows them they're not doing this alone. Our students know that being an Amazon Future Engineer means three things -- we're supported (Amazon), we're preparing them for their college and careers (Future), and we're creators (Engineer). As a recipient of this award, my hope is to inspire students and let them know that—if I can win an award like this, they can do much more. My goal as a teacher is to give students that boost, that launchpad, and that extra hand. Being a part of this program and now winning this award, I'm looking forward to next year as we reach a new cohort of students ready to explore, build, and take advantage of this program to better themselves and their own community.
See how Amazon safely surprised these award-winning teachers with the news:
Are you a computer science teacher or do you know one who might be a good fit for this award? Sign up for an email reminder to apply this fall