2017 Teacher Grant Recipients Announced @ NCTE Opening Session

 New York, NY, November 16, 2017

The Penguin Random House Foundation today has announced the recipients of its 2017 national 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, men and women who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students. The competition is 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 to help disseminate them to other teachers around the country.


Melanie Fallon-Houska, Director of Corporate Giving, Penguin Random House, presented this year’s    recipients at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention during its opening session, in St. Louis, MO. “It’s an incredible honor to present this year’s Teacher Awards for Literacy and to celebrate these educators for their unique programs motivating and inspiring the nurturing of lifelong readers.  As the leading sponsor to this year’s NCTE Conference, Penguin Random House is proud to support professional development for teachers and its importance for student learning and achievement.”


Also featured was the recipient of the $10,000 Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry, presented by Jocelyn Chadwick, NCTE President. “These awards celebrate the creativity, innovation, and passion to further the work these teachers do each day. Their students benefit, their schools benefit, and we in the profession benefit whenever a light is shined on the brilliance of teachers,” she said.


The 2017 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, Penguin Random House book donations will be made to these winners. Ten additional runner-ups will each receive $250 grants and books donations.  The 2017 winners are:


Jarred Amato –$10,000 Grant Recipient, English Teacher
Maplewood High School – Nashville, TN


Vernae Coffee – $10,000 Maya Angelou Grant Recipient, Paraprofessional
Jack T. Farrar Elementary – Tullahoma, TN


Alex Corbitt – $5,000 Grant Recipient, English Teacher
The Bronx School of Young Leaders – Bronx, NY


Jonna Kuskey – $2,500 Grant Recipient, Teacher of English
John Marshall High School – Glen Dale, WV


As an additional feature of the first-place awards, conference registration, travel, and lodging expense was included so that Jared Amato and Vernae Coffee could accept their awards at today’s opening session, expected to be attended by more than 1,500 educators from around the country. Jared and Alex will talk to the conference attendees about their programs and initiatives that earned them a 2017 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 75 percent and 25 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

212-782-9876                                                 212-782-8319


More information regarding this year’s recipients, including the 2018 application and program guidelines including the Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry, go to:


Application submission deadline is June 1, 2018