Non-profit

National Network of State Teachers of the Year

Website:

www.nnstoy.org

Location:

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Tax ID:

48-1035353

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

1980; refounded 2016

Type:

Education Policy Advocacy

CEO:

Eric Isselhardt

The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) is an advocacy group of former state teachers of the year and finalists. It trains veteran teachers to become education policy advocates, generally for left-of-center policy positions.

Funders of the NNSTOY have included the Gates Foundation,[1] and the group partners with the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, a nonprofit associated with the National Education Association teachers union. [2] NNSTOY in its current guise spun off from the New Venture Fund, [3] a project sponsorship and pass-through funding entity associated with the Arabella Advisors network of “dark money” left-of-center advocacy. [4]

History and Rebranding

The predecessor of NNSTOY, National State Teachers of the Year, was founded in 1980. Over the ensuing decades, the organization collaborated with organizations such as the National Teacher Hall of Fame, the Dolly Parton Foundation, and education honor society Kappa Delta Pi to spotlight excellence in teaching and promote service-learning projects. However, as a 2011 strategic plan determined, the organization did not engage in issue advocacy and its “direct impact on education policy [was] limited.” [5]

Around that time, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization was rebranded as NNSTOY with the goal of training teachers to be education policy advocates. [6]

The rebranding took place under the auspices of the New Venture Fund, a left-of-center nonprofit incubator managed by the for-profit consulting firm Arabella Advisors. [7] The group received a new non-profit determination in 2016, spinning off from New Venture Fund. [8] The Gates Foundation has remained a substantial donor, giving more than $3.8 million since 2012, the bulk of it through New Venture Fund. [9]

The “partners” of NNSTOY include the National Education Association Foundation and for-profit education and testing providers Pearson, ETS, University of Phoenix, and Walden University. [10]

Research and Advocacy

In 2013, National Network of State Teachers of the Year issued its first policy paper, a call to develop professionalism guidelines for the teaching profession, including “distributed leadership models” and creating career advancement opportunities for veteran teachers that nonetheless kept them in the classroom. [11]

Its second policy paper, “Engaged: Educators and the Policy Process,” called on teachers to become more involved in advocating for education policies. The paper recommended including courses on education policy in teacher preparation programs and training teachers in advocacy skills including public speaking and coalition-building, accessing and analyzing policy research and data, and effectively lobbying state and federal legislators. [12] Katherine Basset, then the executive director of NNSTOY, told U.S. News & World Report that “The reality is many teachers don’t feel engaged or listened to when it comes to decisions that affect their classrooms.” [13]

In April 2017, NNSTOY released a report calling on increased focus in schools on “social-emotional learning,” which assists students in developing social ties and integrating into groups. The report advocated for integrating social-emotional learning in all academic subjects and increased teacher professional development on the topic, but warned against using students’ measures of social or emotional well-being in teachers’ evaluations or accountability systems. [14]

NNSTOY has an expansive program in interethnic issues and diversity, including recommendations for diversity reading lists and teachers’ guides on “courageous conversations about race in schools.” [15] The theme of one of three tracks of the group’s 2020 annual conference, scheduled for July 2020, is “Diversity of the Norm, Equity is the Way.” [16]

References

  1. National Network of State Teachers of the Year. “2012-2014 Strategic Plan.” November 2011. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/NSTOY-Strategic-Plan-November-2011-FINAL.pdf ^
  2. “Partners.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/about-us/partners/ ^
  3. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund. Schedule O. ^
  4. Hayden R. Ludwig. “Big Money in Dark Shadows: Arabella Advisors’ Half-billion-dollar ‘Dark Money’ Network.” Capital Research Center (DarkMoneyATM.org). https://darkmoneyatm.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/CRC_Arabella-Advisors-Dark-Money_small.pdf ^
  5. National Network of State Teachers of the Year. “2012-2014 Strategic Plan.” November 2011. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/NSTOY-Strategic-Plan-November-2011-FINAL.pdf ^
  6. National Network of State Teachers of the Year. “2012-2014 Strategic Plan.” November 2011. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/NSTOY-Strategic-Plan-November-2011-FINAL.pdf ^
  7. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund. Schedule O. ^
  8. National Network of State Teachers of the Year, Form 990-E, 2016, Reinstatement of a Revoked Organization ^
  9. “Awarded Grants.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed January 27, 2020. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database#q/k=national%20network%20of%20state%20teachers%20of%20the%20year ^
  10. “Partners.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/about-us/partners/ ^
  11. “Re-Imagining Teaching:  Five Structures to Transform the Profession.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. October 4, 2013. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Re-Imagining-Teaching_10-4-2013.pdf ^
  12. “Engaged: Educators and the Policy Process.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. June 2015. Accessed January 27, 2020. ^
  13. Catherine E. Brown. “Making Classrooms Work.” U.S. News & World Report. June 24, 2015. Accessed January 27, 2020. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/06/24/why-teachers-should-be-involved-in-education-policy-decisions ^
  14. “Student Social and Emotional Development and Accountability: Perspective of Teachers.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. April 2017. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Social-and-Emotional-Development-Accountability.pdf ^
  15. “Social Justice and Equity in Education.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/social-justice-equity-education/ ^
  16. “Conference 2020.” National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Accessed January 27, 2020. http://www.nnstoy.org/national-conference-2020 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Network of State Teachers of the Year

    614 SOUTH 4TH STREET
    PHILADELPHIA, PA 19147-1664