Lerner Award

Chess in the Schools Announces:
The Andy Lerner Award
for Excellence in Chess Education

This nationwide annual award recognizes exceptional work in chess education by administrators and chess educators serving public schools or non-commercial children’s chess clubs. 

This year, there will be two Lerner Award recipients and four finalists decided upon by a committee of educators and members of the chess community. The two winners will each receive a $10,000 award. The award will be divided between the educator and their affiliated organization, each receiving $5,000. Awards of $2,000 will be given to finalists.

The award recognizes educators’ impact on the chess community and students, with alignment to CIS’s mission and the values of youth enrichment through chess education. The committee will take into account innovation and dynamism in teaching and programming (such as tournaments or other events), and awards, recognition, or other outcomes of the students, clubs, and communities served.

“It is my hope that this award will highlight the invaluable work that chess educators are doing in underserved communities across the US” –  Andy Lerner, Award Supporter and Board Member

Candidacy is by nomination only, with nominations due November 15, 2023. 

Candidate materials are then due by January 2, 2024. 

The final decision, with an award ceremony to follow, will take place in Spring 2024.

Nominees are expected to:

  • be nominated by a third party (self-nominations are not accepted)
  • be actively engaged in chess education
  • have at least 5 years of experience teaching chess or volunteering and promoting chess education at a non-profit organization or a public school
  • reside in the U.S. (no international nominations)
  • present at least two references

The following criteria will be taken into consideration by the Jury:

  • the impact on the chess community and students served. The impact that the nominee makes should align with CIS mission and values of fostering the intellectual and social development of low-income youth through chess education.
  • number of students served
  • awards/recognition received by the chess team / individual students taught
  • innovative methods of teaching
  • diversity of students served, including but not limited to grade levels, skills and experience levels (e.g. beginners vs competitive players), and demographics
  • number of tournaments / events organized

The following candidates are disqualified from applying:

  • current CIS employees, members of CIS’s Board of Directors and the Advisory Board
  • instructors employed by CIS in the last 3 years
  •    last year’s award recipients
  • instructors working exclusively for for-profit organizations or only giving private lessons

If you were nominated and applied for the award last year and want to be considered this year again, please send an email to Marilyn Lucero, Administrative Office Assistant, at mlucero@chessintheschools.org for more details. 

Additional questions may be directed to Elena Ryabova, CIS Director of Development: (646) 688-0724, eryabova@chessintheschools.org 

Nomination Form