2016 Teacher Grant Recipients Announced @ NCTE Opening Session

New York, NY, November 17, 2016

The Penguin Random House Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2016 Teacher Awards for Literacy, including the newly created Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry. These awards recognize the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students and are open to full and part-time teachers in public schools across the United States. The winners are awarded grants to help further their innovative reading programs and disseminate them to other teachers around the country.


Melanie Fallon-Houska, Director of Corporate Giving, announced this year’s 2016 recipients at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention during its opening session, in Atlanta, GA.


Also featured was the first recipient of the newly created $10,000 Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry. Presented by Dr. Maya Angelou’s great granddaughter Caylin Johnson, the award specifically focuses on poetry initiatives and is awarded in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou’s legacy.


The 2016 awards consist of two $10,000 first-place grants, one $5,000 second-place grant, and one $2,500 third-place grant for each teacher’s respective school. In addition, book donations will be made to these winners. Ten additional runner-ups will each receive $250 grants and books donations. The 2016 winners are:


Kristen Nevins –$10,000 Grant Recipient, Third Grade Teacher
Dr. Charles C. Polk Elementary School – Roselle, NJ


Gillian Schneider – $10,000 Maya Angelou Grant Recipient, English Teacher
Neuqua Valley High School – Naperville, IL


Amy Rasmussen – $5,000 Grant Recipient, English Teacher
Lewisville High School – Lewisville, TX


Joyce Victor – $2,500 Grant Recipient, Teacher Tutor
Owens Primary School – Bakersfield, CA


As part of the first-place awards, conference registration, travel, and lodging expense was included so that Kristen and Gillian could accept their awards at today’s opening session, expected to be attended by more than 1,500 educators from around the country. Kristen and Gillian will talk to the conference attendees about their programs and initiatives that earned them each a 2016 Penguin Random House Teacher Award.


About Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Portugal, and Uruguay. With over 15,000 new titles, and close to 800 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.




Claire von Schilling


Melanie Fallon-Houska


More information regarding this year’s recipients, including the 2017 application and program guidelines including the Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry, go to:


Application submission deadline is September 15, 2017