Applications are now being taken from teachers who promote civic responsibility, patriotism, flag etiquette and a better understanding of veterans who have or currently serve in the armed forces.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter 1002 in Fallon has been a strong supporter of the annual Teacher of the Year. Lahontan Elementary School first-grade teacher Kieran Kalt won both the local and state contests last year and was a runner-up to the national winner, a teacher from Idaho. Teachers may compete in one of three categories: K-fifth grades; middle school, sixth-eighth grades; and high school, ninth-12th grades.
Kalt’s father, John Hanifan, was an Army captain who commanded Fallon’s National Guard armory in the 1950s and her brother Michael is the commander of the Army Guard for Nevada. Kalt served in the Nevada Army National Guard after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno.
The VFW is looking for an educator who enjoys planning trips for students to visit government offices such as the Fallon City Hall or Churchill County Commission or the federal building in Reno; guiding students in volunteer projects; inviting veterans to speak in classes; or presenting information for students to give them a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs.
An event that stood out for judges is Kalt’s annual tribute to veterans. Kalt has worked with her fellow teachers and students to present a program on Veterans Day. During past programs, students have told of their parents who joined the military; the Nevada Army National Guard’s 609th Combat Engineer Company brought its equipment for the students to see; and both officers and enlisted men and women from Naval Air Station Fallon and the National Guard have spoken to the students about their years in the military.
Mike Terry, chairperson for the National Citizenship Education Teacher Post Recognition Award, said the contest is based on the number of nominees submitted. Local chapters then recognize one outstanding teacher from each of the three grade classifications. He said the Fallon VFW post submits the winners’ names to district-level judging, which will forward their winners to the department (state) level.
After judging, each department then forwards the names of its winners to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national award contest.
According to Terry, fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals can submit nominations for teachers. The nominator will describe the teacher’s innovative teaching and resource development methods, as well as his or her dedication to education.
The person nominating the educator is asked to write a narrative of 350 words or less, describe why you feel the nominee is deserving of being a VFW Teacher of the Year and discuss the person’s dedication to education. Relatives may not submit nominations and neither may individuals nominate themselves.
The information may be found on the Internet at https://www.vfw.org/TeacheroftheYear/.
The nomination form along with a narrative on the nominee must be turned into the Fallon VFW post on 405 S. Maine St., by Feb. 15.
The local VFW Post has been active in the Fallon area with its civic duties by participating in local parades, placing flags at local cemeteries for Memorial Day, conducting the Teacher of the Year program and sponsoring an Easter egg hunt among others.