Kids In Need Foundation Announces Winners of 2015 Teacher of the Year Awards
Kids In Need Foundation

October, 2015

The Kids In Need Foundation, a non-profit organization that has distributed more than $700 million in free school supplies to low-income students since 1995, is pleased to announce the 2015 Kids In Need Foundation Teacher of the Year Award recipients.  Staples is the sponsor of the 2015 awards.

The winners are: Joachim Huber, a fifth grade teacher at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Misty Willis, an 11th grade teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona. The recipients were selected based on innovative and results-driven classroom projects chosen for funding by the Kids In Need Teacher Grants, a program that enables educators to offer creative learning opportunities to their students. All preK-12 teachers in the United States are eligible to apply for the grants.

“These educators provide superior experiential learning opportunities for their students, and they also serve as examples of the positive educational experiences that are happening in our schools today,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Kids In Need Foundation.

Huber’s project, Handwritten Coral Reef Essays, was sponsored by BIC Consumer Products USA.  The project met the basic requirement of reinforcing handwriting skills, besides offering students the opportunity to explore the amazing coral reefs. 

“My students loved this project,” said Huber.  “More than anything, I especially love teaching.  I look forward to the wonderful adventure that each new class of students brings.”

Willis’ project, Civil War Mural, was sponsored by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, a national co-sponsor of the Kids In Need Teacher Grants program.  Students researched the Civil War and then applied what they learned to creating a mural about an aspect of the war they found most interesting. 

“I truly enjoy teaching and working with young people. The focus of my classroom is student learning,” said Willis.  “I never cease to be amazed with my students. They are respectful, considerate, hard-working, and excited about learning.”

Each Teacher of the Year award winner received a crystal award and a personal check for $500.  In addition, their respective schools received a $500 gift card to make purchases of needed school supplies at Staples.  Presentations were made to the teachers at the Kids In Need Foundation’s annual gala fundraising event held recently in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This year’s event also celebrated the 20th birthday of the Kids In Need Foundation.

Each year, teachers can submit grant applications from July 15 to September 30.  This year, more than 2,800 grant applications were received, and each teacher who applied will receive $25 in poster and bulletin board making supplies from ArtSkills, sponsor of the Teacher Grants application process. 

About the Kids In Need Foundation

The Kids In Need Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1995. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. Its National Network of Resource Centers includes 34 facilities where teachers from low-income schools go to obtain free school supplies for their students.  School supply giveaways in communities not served by Resource Centers are accommodated through the School Ready Supplies program, and students who have gone through natural disasters are helped to get back to their normal routines with new backpacks and supplies through the Second Responder® program.  In addition, the Teacher Grants program awards preK-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning experiences for students. The Kids In Need Foundation has distributed more than $700 million in school supplies since its founding, directly benefiting 4.6 million students and more than 120,000 teachers annually, and has awarded $1.6 million in grants to teachers.  Kids In Need has earned the Gold GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating its commitment to transparency, and has been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, indicating that it operates in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America. For more information, visit  Join the Kids In Need Foundation on Twitter at Facebook at