© 2019 Department of Minnesota VFW

Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award

Each year, the VFW names one teacher from the elementary (K-5), middle (6-8) and high school (9-12) levels to receive the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Established in 1999, the award recognizes our nation’s top teachers for their exceptional commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students by promoting civic responsibility, flag etiquette, and patriotism in the classroom. The award is named after former VFW National Commander John Smart and retired VFW Quartermaster General Larry Maher.

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics — for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment — can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.

  • A $1,000 award for his/her school.

  • Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.

  • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award. 


Please review the rules and eligibility requirements and nominate a teacher you know by submitting the 2019-20 nomination form. All forms must be submitted through a local VFW Post.

Other great VFW programs and Scholarships to share with Teachers and Students in your local community.

VFW's Voice of Democracy

Patriot's Pen

Scout of the Year

National Scholarship Brochure

Veterans in the Classroom Brochure