The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize

for Schools Where Teaching Matters

Teaching Matters. That is not only our name, but our profound belief, and the belief of our founder, the late Elizabeth Rohatyn. In its seventh year, the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters will award $25,000 to a public school that advances opportunities for students by positioning teachers to lead, learn, and thrive.


Submissions must demonstrate exemplary practice in attracting, growing or retaining great teachers.

    Supportive of Learning - The initiative benefits student learning outcomes.
    Expectations for Effective Teaching – The initiative promotes a culture of clear and shared high expectations for instructional practice and student outcomes.
    Promotes Professional Growth and Leadership – The initiative encourages intentional teacher leadership, development and recognition of excellence.
    Cost Effectiveness - The initiative contains costs without compromising its integrity.
    Sustainability – The initiative is supported by and supportive of a critical school instructional priority. It has the potential to scale to other parts of the school.
    Replicability - The initiative can be replicated in other schools with a minimum of difficulty.

Selection Process

The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize winner is selected through a two-part process that includes

    • A vote from the prize committee
    • A vote from the public in June 2017

As part of the voting process, finalists are required to share their initiatives online with the educational community.

The prize is awarded at the annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize Luncheon in July, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters? What may the winning school do with its award?

The winning school will receive a one-time award of $25,000 to advance, expand or replicate an initiative already underway. Funds may be applied to staffing, consultants, release or common planning time, software, hardware, or other resources specific to the initiative.

Here’s what two recent recipients say about the impact of the Rohatyn Prize:

“One thing teachers don’t have is time, and the one thing schools don’t have is money,” P.S. 9 Principal Kate Witzke observes. She says “The money has definitely provided the opportunity for these self-driven, real opportunities. When people feel their time and energy is being valued, they all like to work collaboratively.”

Last year’s Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize is paying for teachers to put in extra hours so they can meet and collaborate. Nearly 100% of teachers at P.S. 9 are engaging in intervisitations enthusiastically, and they are now including more cross-school visits.

Principal Regina Tottenham, whose school won in 2015, says that the Rohatyn Prize “made the bread rise.” Their mentor program, expanded with the help of Rohatyn funding, is self-supported now, and they’ve even taken it on the road, presenting information about it at an international conference!

Check out video clips from former finalists.

Who’s eligible to apply?

Principals representing a public school that advances opportunities for students by positioning teachers to lead, learn, and thrive. This includes:

How many winners are named each year?

One school receives the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters each year. However, all semi-finalists and finalists are recognized on our website and at the annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will take place on July 19, 2017 at the Harvard Club in New York City.

What is the timeline for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize?

What is the application process?

You can express your interest now, and we will keep you up-to-date on all helpful messages and deadlines. Applications are to be submitted online at the Elizabeth Rohayn Prize page of the Teaching Matters website between March 6 and May 12, 2017. The application asks for information about the school and the initiative. Specific criteria by which all applications are evaluated can be found here. Note that submissions must be accompanied by an artifact that demonstrates and clarifies the initiative for which the prize is sought. A short video artifact is preferred. See the application for details.

Applications need to be submitted by the principal of the applying school.

What is the selection process?

The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize winner is selected through a two-part process that includes:

How much time will it take to complete the application?

The application form is brief and includes strict word counts.While no applicants are the same, it is possible to complete the online application in one sitting after the applicant reads the application thoroughly and gathers the supporting documents needed for supplying accurate and complete information.

The application asks for an artifact to support the submission. Consider this requirement carefully. Select or create an artifact that allows your school to shine.

What if I am not an applicant? Can I nominate a school?

It is not necessary to nominate a school, and the application must be submitted by a school’s principal. Teaching Matters welcomes you to share the application with colleagues and likely candidates who are interested in applying.

Contact Us

Questions about The Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize? Contact Naomi Cooperman at or Jamina Strickland at