Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical

  |  Evaluation criteria  |  Past fellows  |  How to apply
Selection process
  |  Questions?


Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher at Concord High School, touched the nation when she was chosen from among 10,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. After her tragic death in the Challenger space shuttle launch of 1986, Governor John Sununu established, with funding from the state legislature and private contributions, a trust to support this program as a way to memorialize Christa.

The sabbatical program fosters the professional development of gifted teachers and the sharing of educational practices in our schools.

We encourage all New Hampshire public school teachers with a dream and a plan to consider applying for this opportunity. Information about the McAuliffe Sabbatical Program is mailed to all New Hampshire public school superintendents and principals each fall.

Each year, the program—administered by the Charitable Foundation—awards a year-long leave of absence to an exceptional New Hampshire public school teacher. The sabbatical provides the teacher with the time, space, and funding to explore, through a self-designed project, new ideas and ways to enhance classroom teaching.

The sabbatical includes:

  • A full school-year’s salary plus FICA paid directly to the winner's school district for disbursement to the winner at the same rate of pay the individual would normally have received during the school year for classroom teaching; the school district continues to provide the teacher's full benefits as specified in the local master contract
  • Funding for a self-designed project (paid directly to the winner)
  • An agreement to work full-time on the activities outlined in the project proposal
  • An agreement to submit periodic status reports during and upon completion of the sabbatical project
  • An agreement to return to teach in the same district for at least one year following the sabbatical

To apply for this program you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a current, full-time classroom teacher (as defined by contract) in a New Hampshire public school
  • Have at least five years of classroom teaching experience in New Hampshire
  • Hold a valid New Hampshire teaching certificate with the appropriate endorsement(s) for your current assignment

Back to top

Evaluation criteria

Candidates for the McAuliffe Sabbatical Program should demonstrate a strong commitment to the teaching profession, be articulate both in written and oral formats, design a project that creatively addresses a current educational issue, and have a solid plan to disseminate the results.

In general, we use the following criteria in evaluating candidates:

  • Relevance – Is your self-designed project relevant to current issues in education? Do the objectives of your project have the potential to be a critical factor in solving a problem or changing a condition?
  • Impact – Is the impact of your project measurable and broad-based? Who will benefit and how will the results be disseminated?
  • Communication Skills – Your ability to communicate effectively must be exceptional. Do you present a clear, reasoned proposal within a realistic budget and timeframe? 
  • Commitment – Are you passionate about teaching?
  • Leadership – What other accomplishments and activities in your school and/or community demonstrate your leadership?

Back to top

Past fellows

Since 1986, 29 teachers have received a McAulliffe Sabbatical. Their work has ranged from creating a video highlighting the state’s geological features to using a flight simulator to teach students math, geography, and teamwork.

James Krolikowski, the first McAulliffe Sabbatical recipient, used his time to research and write a New Hampshire history textbook and teacher's guide that incorporates many “hands on” activities for students.

Mark Thomas, 1999 recipient of the McAuliffe Sabbatical, developed a middle school science curriculum on orienteering. He took extra care to incorporate special education principles so that all levels of learning can be engaged in scientific inquiry.

Libby Curran, 2006 recipient, created a Reading Buddies program. She matched readers with same skill levels in pairs. The partners worked together, encouraging each other to read more and thus improve their reading ability. Libby also pulled together a series of books for the lowest level reader. She wants all children to experience the success of reading a book. She brought her program to fifteen elementary schools during her sabbatical year. Each program continues today on its own.

Learn more about the other teachers' sabbatical projects.

Back to top

How to apply

  1. Download application packet
  2. Complete cover sheet.
  3. Develop a project proposal, answering the eight questions listed in the application packet. Past sabbatical winners are all willing and interested in helping candidates with their proposals, from basic ideas to final presentations. If you would like to contact any of them to discuss your project, please contact us and we will put you in touch.
  4. Prepare a project budget. We encourage you to follow the “Writing a Good Budget” recommendations included in the application packet.
  5. Get the Verification of Eligibility and Consent form signed by your superintendent, three (3) letters of reference, and a copy of your current résumé.
  6. Collate all application materials.
  7. Make eight (8) copies of the application and all accompanying materials.
  8. Submit all eight (8) copies of your application packet. Completed applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on the last Monday of January each year (January 26, 2015). Application materials will be accepted until January 29. Mail or hand-deliver to:

Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
37 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301-4005 

Back to top

Selection process
Once all applications have been received, a preliminary review committee meets during the month of February. Please note that this sabbatical is not intended to cover the time and costs of pursuing a graduate degree. Applications that appear to be an opportunity for a candidate to finish a degree or otherwise further his or her own education will be disqualified.

Up to five candidates are selected for a personal interview. Members of an advisory committee, or their appointed representatives, gather in late March or early April to conduct interviews. The committee chooses a winner soon after. The sabbatical recipient is announced in mid-April.

Back to top

Contact Hilary DeAngelis by email or at 603-225-6641 ext. 20235.

Back to top

<< Back

Bookmark and Share

© New Hampshire Charitable Foundation | 37 Pleasant St. | Concord, NH 03301 | 603-225-6641 | 800-464-6641