For a teacher to be named an OEST winner (state or Section) in a particular year, they must be nominated by their section application deadline. Then the section liaison should inform the National OEST Committee Chair, by June 1st, of all recipient names and email addresses.

By June 1st

· contact Mike Passow, OEST Committee Chair, with award recipient name and email. If you need additional assistance, you may also contact the NAGT Executive Office.

· please direct your award winners to the OEST Recipient Information page. The online form for OEST winners requires the award recipient to include a brief narrative (300 words), a digital picture (300 pixels/inch or 480 x 600 pixels), and contact information for the winner's home and school.

· the plaque request should be made at the OEST Plaque Information page.


At the National Level - The OEST Program is administered by a constitutionally mandated standing committee consisting of one member from each regional NAGT Section plus two or three members-at-large (if one of the two members-at-large is selected as Chair, a third member-at-large will be appointed). The at-large members are recommended by the Committee on Committees for two-year terms and confirmed by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee appoints the Chair. Sectional Representatives are appointed by the Section in accordance with local procedures and policies. Their terms are specified by their Section. The Committee is responsible for publicizing the OEST program both nationally and at the Sectional level, and insuring that proper procedures are followed in the selection of all OEST winners. The Committee Chair is responsible for preparation of awards.

At the Sectional Level - The NAGT Constitution states "(N)ominations will be made to the President of each section who will arrange for the Section Selection Committee." In many sections, local customs or official by-laws mandate that a person other than the Section President run the OEST program for the Section. Whomever is given the responsibility of running the OEST program for the Section automatically becomes the Sectional Representative to the national OEST Committee. It is the responsibility of each Section to inform the OEST Committee Chair and NAGT Executive Office concerning any changes in the status of the Section representative. All nominations must be submitted online at the online nomination form page. Nominations will be forwarded to the OEST Sectional Representative of the appropriate Section. The Section OEST Chair is responsible for convening the Selection Committee and for the submission of the required forms and other information to the national OEST Chair.


An effective search can be accomplished through personal correspondence, advertisements in relevant newsletters, and appropriate individual contact. Individuals most likely to produce nominations should be targeted.

Sample Solicitation Letter (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 85kB Aug3 16) - You may consider district superintendents, principals, science coordinators, regional science centers, departments of science education at colleges and universities, etc. The solicitation letter must:

1. outline the program clearly;

2. state the advantages of participation;

3. emphasize what action is required to participate;

4. underscore the response deadline;

5. specifically mention NAGT as the sponsor; and

6. include the nomination website.


All nominators are required to follow the format specified on the official nomination form. All nominators must fill out the official nomination form found at: online nomination form. Note that the narrative portion of the application is limited to a one single-spaced typewritten page for each of the seven elements mentioned on the form. Additional documentation to support the narrative should be encouraged, but quality should be stressed over quantity.


All nominations must be submitted via the OEST website and will then be forwarded to the appropriate section. A broad based but small committee should be formed to evaluate and rank the nominations within a state (or a Sectional panel can be convened to rank nominations by state). Once state winners are selected, the winners' files are forward to a Sectional Committee. The committee then selects the Sectional OEST winner.

A new committee can be appointed each year, but a staggered system to utilize members for more than one year is desirable because of the continuity it provides. The committee can be designated as the State NAGT Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards Committee and charged not only with selecting the state winner(s) but also with planning the total program at the state level. Likewise, a Sectional committee may coordinate the Sectional program in addition to selecting the Sectional winner(s). When awardees are notified of their selection, it is extremely important that the nominator, the Principal of the school, and the district superintendent receive copies of the letter (see below). The committee should also be charged with sending press releases to hometown papers and publicizing the award in whatever way brings the most recognition to the awardees (see below). If the nomination packet does not demonstrate high quality, it is better to give no award that year than to give an award to a teacher who has not exhibited standards consistent with the OEST Program.
Sample State Winner Email (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 61kB Aug3 16)
Sample Section Winner Email (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 62kB Aug3 16)
Sample Press Release (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 67kB Aug4 16)


The successful awards program should embody three elements:

  • Tangible and high-quality rewards
  • Public presentation on an appropriate occasion
  • Honor to as many nominees as possible

Section Winners Receive:

  • 10"x13" plaque from NAGT
  • 2 year complimentary membership in NAGT
  • From GSA: $700 travel money to attend a GSA Annual or Section Meeting, a 3-year K-12 Teacher Membership, and a 3-year membership in GSA's Geoscience Education Division
  • Copy of Over The Mountains and an Earth Science Week kit from American Geosciences Institute
  • One-year membership and subscription to EOS and Physics Today from AGU
  • One-year subscription to The Professional Geologist from AIPG
  • Two-year membership and subscription to the Earth Scientist from NESTA
  • Copy of Earth as Art from the USGS

State Winners Receive:

  • 9" x 12" plaque from NAGT
  • two-year complimentary membership in NAGT (including a subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education), from NAGT
  • two-year membership or renewal and Journal "The Earth Scientist" from National Earth Science Teachers Association
  • "Earth as Art" publication from the US Geological Survey (Due to COVID-19 this will not be available for 2020)
  • one-year K-12 Teacher membership in the Geological Society of America (GSA) and a one-year membership in GSA's Geoscience Education Division
  • Earth Science Week kit from the American Geological Institute

Some states provide additional resources to their state winners.

Public Presentation - A representative of NAGT should be present at the ceremony to present the award. Usually this requires contacting the persons in charge well in advance of the meeting. State winners in particular should be honored at the State Science Teacher meetings whenever possible.

Honor to Many - Selecting a first, second, and third place winner, or a first place winner plus honorable mention winners, significantly broadens the program at the state level. Likewise, selecting several finalists at the Sectional level increases the effectiveness of the program.

Funding an Awards Program - At the Sectional level, larger industries, especially mining associations and environmental firms, offer the greatest likelihood for success in fund-raising. The OEST State Coordinator (or Sectional Coordinator) in consultation with colleagues and the state geologist, can compile a list of organizations and industries considered to be likely financial supporters.


  • News releases to the hometown paper of each teacher honored as well as to all organizations newsletters Sample Newspaper Notice (Acrobat (PDF) 28kB Jan5 11)
  • Letters of appreciation to each financial supporter of the program.
  • Letter to each award recipient encouraging them to write a letter of appreciation to the organizations providing the award(s).
  • A letter of congratulations to the school and system administrators.
  • A letter of thanks to the organization providing the forum for NAGT to make the OEST awards.

These things having been done, the State or Section is set to begin the cycle again.