Highly skilled, certified, experienced teachers are the cornerstone of a good education. A top priority for the Public School Foundation is helping the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School (CHCCS) District attract and retain the best teachers. One of the ways PSF works to achieve that goal is by awarding Endowed Teaching Chairs and other annual recognition awards. These chairs and awards acknowledge the contribution of outstanding educators in the school system and reward their efforts on the behalf of students.
Elementary School Chairs
Sockwell Chair for Excellence in Teaching Primary Grades (preK-2)
The Chair was the first elementary-level Teaching Chair established by the Foundation. It honors former school board chair Phyllis Sockwell and her aunt who were teachers. The Chair is funded by an endowment and is awarded to teachers of grades preK to 2nd grade on a two-year cycle.
Upper Elementary Chair for Excellence in Teaching Innovation
The second elementary Teaching Chair was established as an endowment to honor outstanding, innovative teachers of grades 3-5 districtwide. The award is presented on a two-year cycle.
Middle School Chairs
GlaxoSmithKline Chair for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Science or Math
The GSK Chair was the first middle school Teaching Chair established by the Foundation. This Chair honors outstanding Science or Math teachers at the high school level. This award is presented in a two-year cycle.
Zora Rashkis Chair for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Language Arts or Social Studies
An endowment fund was created to honor Mrs. Rashkis, who was a much loved teacher at Phillips and Culbreth Middle Schools. The Chair is awarded to outstanding middle school Language Arts or Social Studies teachers. This is a two-year award.
High School Chairs
Elmo’s Chair for Excellence in Teaching High School Math or Science
The Elmo’s Chair honors outstanding teachers of Mathematics or Science at the high school level. This award is presented in a two year cycle.
Bernadine Sullivan Chair for Excellence in Teaching High School English or Social Studies
The endowment was created by the family of English teacher Bernadine Sullivan at Chapel Hill High School, and was expanded in the 2013-14 school year from an English teaching award to include Social Studies. The award is presented on a two-year cycle.
Mary U. Andrews Chair for Excellence in Teaching Literacy
This Teaching Chair honors outstanding reading specialists, literacy coaches, and media specialists for their work in the literacy arena. This Chair was created to honor Ms. Andrews, a long-time literacy teacher in the CHCCS District who helped initiate a number of literacy programs in the schools and the community. The Chair is presented on a three-year cycle.
Kim Hoke Chair for Excellence in Teaching Exceptional Children
A new honor in 2016, the Kim Hoke Chair awards outstanding classroom teachers who are certified to teach Exceptional Children and do so in a classroom setting. Named to honor retired PSF Executive Director Kim Hoke, the Chair recognizes the efforts of classroom teachers who dedicate their career to teaching children with disabilities and special needs. The Chair is presented on a three-year cycle.
Neil Pedersen Teachers First Chair for Excellence in Classroom Technology
As part of the Teachers First campaign, this endowed fund was created by the Foundation to honor the former CHCCS Superintendent Neil Pedersen. The Chair is awarded to a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher who best exemplifies excellence in technology instruction and skill development in their students’ classroom experiences. Instructional Technology Facilitators or teachers of Business Education, Technology, Printing/Graphics, Family & Consumer Science, Drafting, Marketing, Computer Engineering, or Automotive classes are eligible for nomination. This Chair is awarded on a three-year cycle to one eligible teacher.
PSF/PTA Chair for Excellence in Teaching Cultural Arts
This Chair, first awarded in the 2013-14 school year, honors outstanding Arts teachers in the district who teach music, voice, visual and/or dramatic arts at any grade level. The Chair is awarded on a three-year cycle.
Mel and Zora Rashkis Chair for Excellence in Teaching Healthful Living and Physical Education
Established in 2017-18, this Chair honors outstanding teachers in grades K-12 who instruct students in healthful living and/or physical education. Funds were provided by the Rashkis Trust. The Chair is awarded on a three-year cycle and is named to honor the legacies of educators Mel and Zora Rashkis.
Promising New Teaching Chairs
Zora Rashkis Chair for Promising New Elementary School Teacher
This endowed fund was created in 2021-22 by a gift from the Zora Rashkis Trust to benefit PSF Teaching Chairs. The Zora Rashkis Chair for Promising New Elementary School Teacher is presented on a three-year cycle to a beginning teacher (less than three years teaching) who shows great promise in teaching at an elementary grade level, Pre-K through 5th grade.
Burton Stuart Chair for Promising New Secondary Teachers in Math or Science
The endowed fund, created by his son, honors “Bud” Stuart, a long-time Math teacher at Chapel Hill High School and the first recipient of the first Teaching Chair awarded in the District. First awarded in the 2013-14 school year, the Stuart Chair is presented on a three-year cycle to a beginning teacher (less than three years teaching) who shows great promise in teaching Math or Science in either middle or high school.
Sterling and Anita Hennis Chair for Promising New Secondary Teachers of English/Language Arts or Social Studies
This endowed fund was created by the family of Sterling and Anita Hennis. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, the Hennis Chair is presented on a three-year cycle to a beginning teacher (less than three years teaching) who shows great promise in teaching English/Language Arts or Social Studies at either the middle or high school level.
District-wide Annual Awards
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Providing Student Services
The annual award targets school staff members who work in student services.
Elmo’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Multi-Language Learners
The award is presented to an outstanding teacher of Multi-Language Learners at any grade level, K-12.
EC Support Staff Award
This award recognizes a member of the District’s Exceptional Children support staff for their outstanding work to support EC classrooms, teachers, and students.
Instructional Support Award
This award is presented to recognize a member of the District’s Instructional Support Team who provides teachers and classrooms with outstanding instructional support and training. Candidates include Academic Coaches, Equity Coaches, Instructional Technology Facilitators, Gifted Specialists, and AVID Specialists.
Jeannette Blackwell Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Established in memory of an excellent classroom teacher and district-wide elementary mentor Jeanette Blackwell, the award honors a teacher each year who mentors other teachers.
Margaret Kepner Distinguished Service Award (New in 2023!)
Established in memory of science teacher Margaret Kepner, this annual award will be given to one teacher in recognition of their service to the profession. Eligible teachers will be chosen from the prior year pool of Teaching Chair applicants. Nominees will have over ten years of experience in CHCCS and be viewed as leaders. Criteria include a commitment to excellence, educational contributions beyond the classroom, community involvement, growth mindset, and public education advocacy.
Mary Scroggs Award for Excellence in Support Services
This award targets school staff members in supporting roles, as teacher assistants, clerical and office jobs, custodial personnel, maintenance, transportation, and food services who provide outstanding services to students and their colleagues. It is an annual award supported by an endowed fund in memory of Mary Scroggs, a long-term member and former Chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education.
Public School Foundation Award for Excellence in School Administration
This annual award recognizes Lincoln Center staff for exceptional leadership and professionalism in the service of our school district.
Public School Foundation Award for Promising New Teachers
The Foundation recognizes and honors an outstanding first-year teacher who is selected by nominations from schools and on-site observations by representatives of the selection committee.
Teacher of the Year Awards
The Foundation, with a donation from Pinnacle Financial Partners, honors the district-wide Teacher of the Year and two Honor Teachers. The award carries a $1,000 cash gift to the district-wide Teacher of the Year and $500 gifts to each of the two honor teachers. In addition, the Foundation provides each school’s Teacher of the Year with a $100 cash gift.