Teacher of the Year

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.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle, and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program.

Please review the new rules and eligibility requirements and download the 2024 entry form and brochure to nominate a teacher you know. Teacher nomination entries must be received at a local participating VFW Post by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Looking to share updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Share our National Scholarship Brochure (coming soon) with the students and educators in your community.


And the 2024 Teachers of the Year are ...


TOTY Elementary Winner

Eugene V. Struzik III, an Air Force veteran and fifth grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School in Dodge City, Kansas, has been selected to receive its 2024 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award at the elementary school level. Sponsored by Howard Gotschall VFW Post 1714 in Dodge City, Kansas, Struzik was chosen for his passion and work to instill a sense of appreciation and patriotism amongst his students and community. From coordinating a Veterans Day commemoration to his work establishing Project Mail Call: Honoring Our Veterans which allowed his students the opportunity to write several cards to veterans embarking on a Kansas Honor Flight.

TOTY Middle School Winner
Monica Galloway, an Army veteran and sixth grade math teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel, Maryland, has been selected to receive its 2024 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award at the middle school level. Sponsored by J. Paul Duke Jr. Memorial VFW Post 9376 in Clinton, Maryland, Galloway was chosen for her dedication to increasing participation in her county’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) and her implementation of “Immigrant Experiences,” and instructional program to help promote diversity and build stronger, culturally responsive and supportive classrooms.
TOTY High School Winner
Edward M. Graf, an Army veteran and high school social studies teacher at Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, New Jersey, has been selected to receive its Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award at the high school level. Sponsored by Bernardsville Memorial VFW Post 7858 in Bernardsville, New Jersey, Graf was chosen for the continued passion and energy he brings to his classroom, and for the dedication to honoring America’s service members, veterans and Gold Star families through multiple student-led events and his establishment of “Proud to be an American Day” which honors the service and ultimate sacrifice paid by our nation’s armed forces.