CAMDEN, NJ — Eager to recognize the efforts of Camden educators confronting a new school year amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Camden Education Fund has kicked off the RISE (Resilient, Inspirational, Solutions-Oriented Educators) awards.

CEF, a local foundation, said it will gift 5 to 10 city teachers — regardless school type — with $2,000 each as part of the initiative.

“School looks really different this year, but there is still learning and social emotional development happening all across the city, thanks to the heroic work of our city’s teachers," said Camden Board of Education member Nyemah Gillespie. 

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"I can’t wait to celebrate the winners, along with their students and families," Gillespie said. "Our district owes a debt of gratitude to all the teachers who have gone above and beyond and adapted to conditions that they never trained for or imagined they’d ever be in."

To nominate a Camden K-12 public teacher (district, renaissance or charter) for the award, students, parents, guardians, teachers or school leaders can send an application via letter or video by Feb. 4, 2021. 

“Throughout the city, there are inspiring teachers who have persevered through the pandemic, continued to deliver high-quality instruction and maintain strong relationships with students and families," said Jonathan Garr, Camden Education Fund’s Director of School Investments. "Those teachers deserve to be celebrated, and it’s our hope that this award will help make teachers feel like they are seen, honored, and appreciated for their work,”

Once nominated, teachers will have their virtual or in-person lesson observed by a committee, which will include members of the CEF, the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, Relay Graduate School of Education and Rowan University.

Winners will be announced in the spring.

“The pandemic has changed how schools operate, but one thing remains constant: a great teacher is the most important resource in a classroom. Talent is one of our key focus areas, and this award is part of a broader effort to recognize our city’s dedicated educators.  We look forward to celebrating a set of teachers whose positivity and resilience has kept students motivated, engaged, and learning in this challenging year,” said Naeha Dean, Camden Education Fund’s Executive Director.

For information and to nominate a teacher, visit

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