We are sad to announce that we have decided to end the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Awards. The Award, which we began in 1988, annually recognizes 15 teachers in the Omaha Public Schools. The Award comes with a cash prize of $10,000 and a silver medallion commemorating the Award. Over the past 35 years we have given the Award to a total of 525 teachers.
The original purpose of the Award was not only to recognize and reward individual outstanding teachers, but to bring attention to the important work all teachers do. Their work, which is undervalued and often unappreciated, is critical to the success of our community. We hoped that by putting a spotlight on a few teachers we would enhance the community’s respect and appreciation for all teachers. However, we are not sure that the Awards have served that purpose or that it is an effective way to build the community support that is necessary to attract and retain outstanding teachers.
In ending the Awards, we are cognizant of the very difficult environment that teachers have had to navigate over the past two years. Their job has never been harder. However, we know that there are a variety of efforts going on in our community, including work being funded by our sister foundation, The Sherwood Foundation, that is looking at this issue in a more comprehensive way. We think that work will be a more effective way to address this important issue.
The Buffett Foundation established the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Awards in order to honor the vital role that teachers play in our society. We believe that the position of the great teacher in molding children and young adults is too often diminished. We sometimes forget the teacher’s enormous influence in building esteem and motivating young minds, as well as creating an educational atmosphere where learning leads to satisfying lives and careers. The Award’s namesake, Alice Buffett, taught Home Economics to students at Omaha Central High School and Benson High School. The aunt of Omaha investor Warren Buffett, Alice Buffett profoundly influenced the lives and minds of generations of children in Omaha for more than 35 years with her passionate and caring approach to learning and her students.
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation responds to questions about the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award only. The Foundation does not respond to other inquiries.
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