Nation's Best Educators Honored in Wal-Mart's 11th Annual Teacher of the Year Program

Company Donates $4.9 Million to Winning Teachers’ Schools 


BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 9, 2006 – Fifty-one educators across the country and Puerto Rico returned to school this year to learn that they had been named their state’s top teacher in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s 11th annual Teacher of the Year program.  The winning teachers were honored for their contributions to education and their dedication to the profession during special recognition ceremonies at their local schools. (EDITOR’S NOTE: See chart at the end of this release for a full list of winners.)

In celebration of the honor, Wal-Mart provided each winning teacher’s school with an educational grant for $10,000.  Winners were selected by Phi Delta Kappa International educational association.  The winners also received a crystal apple trophy, a personalized Teacher of the Year tote, business cards, a Teacher of the Year certificate, banner, and a one-year membership to Phi Delta Kappa. 

“Teachers play a tremendous role in inspiring and motivating students of all abilities to learn,” said Ray Bracy, vice president of corporate affairs, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is proud to recognize all teachers across the country who inspire our nation’s youth through their outstanding leadership.”

Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year program is one of the largest teacher recognition efforts in the country, giving back $4.9 million this year alone to the schools of winning teachers.  Since the Teacher of the Year program began in 1995, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has honored more than 26,000 teachers nationwide and donated more than $18.5 million to local schools.  In 2005, the company provided more than $45 million in support of educational initiatives.

“Educators need to be recognized now more than ever, as they face the current challenges of improving student achievement," said William Bushaw, executive director, Phi Delta Kappa.  “The recognition that this program brings, as well as the dollars it provides to schools, is a very tangible contribution by corporate America toward school improvement across the country.”

Every year the Teacher of the Year program begins in February when each Wal-Mart store, Neighborhood Market, SAM’S CLUB location and Distribution Center accepts nominations from their community including, parents, educators and school children, for local “Teacher of the Year” honors.  Nominations are compiled and each of the company’s more than 4,000 locations nationwide, including units in Puerto Rico, honor a local teacher with a $1,000 donation in his or her honor to their school. Each teacher also receives a $100 gift card during National Teacher Appreciation Week in May.  Local winners have the option to complete a comprehensive application for the state winner phase to be reviewed by Phi Delta Kappa International.  All 50 state winners and a winner from Puerto Rico are then automatically considered for the national Teacher of the Year award to be announced in November.

How Winners Were Selected
According to Bushaw, several criteria were used to evaluate the applications and determine the winners.  Applicants answered four questions with each response limited to 250 words; judges gave each answer a numerical score.
1. What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to students?
2. What self-initiated practices, programs or projects have you implemented to produce a high level of student achievement?
3. What do you consider to be the three most critical issues in education that affect students?  Address one of these issues by describing how you attempt to respond to it.
4. At what level and degree are you involved in community volunteer work?  Describe how your involvement has influenced your teaching.

Applicants also submitted two letters of recommendation – one from an immediate supervisor and one from a colleague, a community member, a student’s parent or a student.

About Phi Delta Kappa International
Phi Delta Kappa International is committed to leadership, research, and service in education. Founded in 1906, PDK is a professional association composed of educators at all levels.  Member chapters are active throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.  As an association, PDK works to promote quality education, with particular emphasis on publicly supported education, as essential to the development and maintenance of a democratic way of life.  In addition, the organization supports educators in their work through publications, research, and professional development opportunities. Visit www.pdkintl.org to learn more about Phi Delta Kappa International.
 
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, Sam’s Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities.

To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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