Highly skilled, experienced teachers are the cornerstone of a good education, and one of the Public School Foundation’s top priorities is helping the 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.
Teaching Chair honorees receive monetary awards of $1,000 annually, and hold the chair for two to three years, depending on their specific chair. Recipients are selected by committees consisting of parents, students, administrators, Foundation Board members, teachers, and/or donor representatives. Each year, the PSF provides the community with an opportunity to nominate teachers for that year’s chair awards, kicking off a rigorous application and evaluation process. Click here to learn more about the PSF Chair Award Process.
Endowed chairs are created and supported by private contributions from individual donors or groups of donors. They have served as a wonderful way to honor both the recipients of the chairs and the people in whose names they have been established. An endowed chair that is presented over time and presumably into perpetuity requires a significant principal amount of support to generate an annual gift. An award can be funded annually or for a specific number of years. To establish either a chair or an award, contact the Foundation Staff.
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 Glaxo Chair was the first middle school teaching chair established by the Foundation. The chair honoring outstanding science or math teachers was first awarded in 1988-89. Starting in the 2013-14 school year, it is awarded on 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 was initially awarded to outstanding middle school Language Arts teachers. Starting with the 2013-14 school year, the award was expanded to include middle school candidates teaching Social Studies. This is a two-year award.
High School Chairs
Elmo’s Chair for Excellence in Teaching High School Math or Science
The chair began with an initial endowment from Kaiser Permanente and continued in 2006 with a supplemental gift from Elmo’s Diner and the Upper Elementary Chair Fund. It has a two-year term.
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 Mary U. 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 in honor of retired Executive Director of the Public School Foundation, 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
This endowed fund was created by the Foundation to honor the former CHCCS Superintendent Neil Pedersen as a part of the Teachers First campaign. 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 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 and is sponsored by PTAs district-wide.
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 health and/or physical education. 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 will be 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 World Languages/ELL
The award is presented to an outstanding teacher of world language or a teacher of English Language Learners at any grade level, K-12.
Jeannette Blackwell Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Established in memory of excellent teacher and district-wide elementary mentor Jeanette Blackwell, the award honors a teacher each year who mentors other teachers.
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.