Awards & Scholarships

The Alliance for Education administers several awards and scholarships to acknowledge excellence among educators and students.

To learn more about these awards, please contact Zeynab Abdulqadir.

The Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence

The Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence was established by the Alliance for Education in honor of the late Thomas B. Foster, a prominent Seattle attorney and senior partner of the Foster Pepper law firm. Mr. Foster exemplified excellence in his profession during a career which spanned the last half of the 20th century, and had a personal commitment to public education. Endowed by the Foster family, the Foster Award has been offered to Seattle Public Schools principals since 2000.

The purpose of the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence is to recognize and honor outstanding Seattle Public Schools principals who have demonstrated success in closing opportunity gaps to improve outcomes in their school setting. The selection process considers colleague and community nominations, data including outcomes related to student growth and school climate, and overall principal commitment and effectiveness. Principals must have served at least three years in their current school to be eligible for the award.

Two Foster Awards are given annually by the Alliance for Education. Recipients are notified of their award via a surprise announcement at their school. All recipients are given public recognition by the Alliance for Education, and a grant for $25,000 to be utilized at their school. The Alliance also asks all Foster Award recipients to share the strategies they employed to support their students’ success, in order to document best practices and share them with the broader SPS community.

List of Thomas B. Foster Award winners

The Margaret Covey Excellence in Teaching Award

The Margaret Covey Award, funded by family members through an endowment, has been established to honor Mrs. Covey, who was an outstanding teacher in the Seattle Public Schools for over 30 years. She spent her years as an educator at Gatzert, Gatewood and Brighton elementary schools and particularly enjoyed teaching reading and math. Margaret Covey had a passion for learning and a commitment to children that she maintained throughout her life.

The Margaret Covey Excellence in Teaching Award is given on an annual basis to a Seattle Public Schools library that exemplifies the qualities and values that distinguished Margaret Covey’s teaching career. A stipend of $1,000 accompanies each award, and it can be used at the librarian’s discretion.This award is issued at the Covey family’s discretion.

List of Margaret Covey Excellence in Teaching Award winners

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award, funded by family and friends through an endowment, has been established to honor Mr. Swain, who was a passionate advocate for public education throughout his life. He devoted 20 years of public service to these efforts, including 14 years as a member of the Seattle School Board (1961-1975), helping to steer the Seattle School District through challenging times.

The yearly award is historically given to up to six educators in Seattle Public Schools who exemplify the qualities and values that distinguished Mr. Philip B. Swain’s years of community stewardship. Nominations are open to teachers and counselors who:

  • Have taught grades 6-12 for at least three years;
  • Have worked in schools where, for at least two of the past three years, the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-lunch is 40% or higher;
  • Have inspired a love of learning in students while helping them reach their highest academic potential;
  • Have played a leadership role with their peers in fostering a professional learning community, in which teachers are encouraged to learn from one another through coaching, study groups, peer critique and collaborative problem-solving;
  • Have been nominated by colleagues, principals or other Seattle Public Schools administrators, with strong encouragement of collaboratively developed nominations.

A stipend of $1,000 accompanies each award, and may be used for continuing professional development, for travel associated with such development, for classroom projects or for personal purposes.

List of Phillip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award Winners

The Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship Fund

The Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship Fund was established in the memory of Nicholas Sherburne, whose life was cut short in 1995. Nicholas showed great promise at Franklin High School and was very involved with the Academy of Finance. It is the wish of his family and friends that an award be made each year in the amount of $1,000 to a graduate of Franklin High School who has been an active participant in the Academy of Finance program and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

List of Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship Award Winners

The Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award

The Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award, funded by family members through an endowment was established to honor Adrienne Weaver. Adrienne Weaver had a love for teaching and science and believed in hands-on learning. She spent more than 30 years of her professional life teaching in the Seattle Public Schools at Kimball, Madrona and Lowell Elementary Schools. She was a lifelong gardener who could identify most plants in any garden and found enormous pleasure with kids, animals, plants and tide pools.

The Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award is given on an annual basis to a Seattle Public School teacher in grades K-8 who has been with the district for at least 3 years.  To honor the focus of Ms. Weaver’s work, only teachers from schools where, for at least two of the past three years, the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-lunch is 40% or higher may be nominated.

List of Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award Winners