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Corporate Responsibility in Action

Honoring Innovation: Vote for Recipient of Symantec Innovation in Teaching Award

Created: 20 May 2014 • Updated: 20 May 2014
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Vote now! Help select five teachers to receive the Symantec Award for Innovation in Teaching!

Pop quiz. Which organization is Symantec’s longest standing non-profit partner?

If you guessed Teach For America (TFA), you’re right. Since 1997, Symantec has supported TFA, a national non-profit that recruits, trains and supports top college graduates and career-changing professionals to commit to teach in under-resourced urban and rural public schools. The partnership brings together two organizations promoting teaching innovation so that all children have access to an excellent education that will help prepare them for opportunities in school and in life. Symantec also specifically supports TFA’s recruitment of teachers from the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Over the course of the relationship, Symantec’s support for TFA has surpassed $4 million dollars, helping to empower more than 32,000 TFA teachers and alumni who have positively impacted the academic trajectories for more than three million children since 1991.

“Symantec deeply understands the role education plays in the life and academic success of every child.  With their support, we are able to provide more teachers to high-need schools nationwide. The Innovation in Teaching Award is an exciting opportunity to draw attention to classroom innovation and collaboration that foster a love of learning in students while ensuring the rigor that will help students on the path to success and leadership,” said Brandon Sammut, Managing Director of National Corporate Partnerships at Teach For America.

The Twelfth Annual Symantec Innovation in Teaching Awards

In 2003, Symantec and Teach For America launched the Symantec Innovation in Teaching Awards, recognizing outstanding Teach for America teachers who demonstrate original thinking and teamwork in the service of increasing student learning.

While in previous years the award was focused within cities where Symantec has a major presence, this year, current corps members and alumni teachers from anywhere in the United States—more than 21,000 people—were eligible to apply, capturing the ingenuity and innovation happening all over the nation.

“Every day, teachers are working hard to inspire the next generation of leaders. Symantec is pleased to honor these innovators—the Teach for America corps members and alumni whose creative approaches are transforming both education and the lives of students around the country,” said Cecily Joseph, ‎Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at Symantec. “Our future innovators are sitting in classrooms right now and with partners like Teach for America, we hope to get these students excited about STEM subjects and lead them toward a career in the technology industry.”

Drumroll for the top 10 finalists

Over the last two months, corps members from around the country applied—and submitted videos—for the award and today we are proud to name the 10 finalists, selected for their innovation, collaboration, and measured results in their classroom.

  • Reading scores jump from 12% to 70%—Alissa Changala and Sarah Batizy
  • Technology skills to succeed in college and beyond—Angria Sceusi
  • Using Instagram to raise students’ grades—Emma Ellman-Golan
  • Early entrepreneurs: Student businesses/non-profits—Hardy Farrow
  • An after-school leadership academy helps students find their voice—Kristina Pham
  • A summer of STEM learning—Liz Chen, Dale Hammer and Grayson Cooper
  • Improving educational outcomes with healthy eating habits—May Tsupros
  • Working Overtime: Connecting families, teachers, and students—Rachel Warbelow, Ben Salkowe, Emily Bassier, and Raymond Gonzalez
  • Leveling the playing field in Silicon Valley—Ramon Sanchez
  • Reaching students with more than lectures—Travis Dempsey

Vote today for the most innovative

Voting is now open. This is your opportunity to honor innovation and help select the five outstanding corps members who will be granted a $1,000 personal award and a $1,500 resource grant to help scale their innovation, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Teach For America’s Alumni Educators Conference in July.

For more information and to watch each of the finalist’s video submission, visit:

For additional information on the Symantec/Teach for America partnership, read Strengthening our Partnership with Teach for America

Lora Phillips is Symantec’s Senior Manager, Global Corporate Responsibility.