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Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical

Each year, the Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical 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.

Learn more about the history of the Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical in a 2016 blog post reflecting on 30 years of the program.

  • Eligibility

    Please refer to the Sabbatical Eligibility and Terms document to determine your eligibility.

  • Grant amount

    Equivalent to a full year’s salary plus FICA and project expenses up to $12,000. The school district will continue to provide the teacher’s full benefits as specified in the local master contract, including medical and retirement.

  • Previous recipients

    Gregory, an earth science teacher at Frances C. Richmond Middle School in Hanover, will use his sabbatical to create a documentary about Glacial Lake Hitchcock, which spanned New Hampshire during the last ice age, and a supporting geology curriculum adaptable to any grade. These materials will allow other educators to easily bring localized earth science to students across New Hampshire.

    Elizabeth, a literacy specialist at Harold Martin Elementary School in Hopkinton, used her sabbatical to increase educators’ knowledge of best practices for early literacy instruction. This benefited both teachers and students across New Hampshire, addressing student literacy needs at a critical time following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through YouTube videos, online resources, collaboration with NH schools and teachers, and other resources, Elizabeth supported other educators in addressing early literacy practices and created structures for collaboration on a statewide level. You can learn more about this work at https://sites.google.com/view/literacyleadersnh/home?pli=1.

    Through both lesson modules for students and professional development resources for educators, Eric helped technical students in technical fields improve in math on a statewide level. In addition, Eric worked to break down the cultural stigma attached to the trades. Many see the trades as a “fallback” career instead of a true opportunity for a person to use his or her skills to help society. Through his sabbatical work, Eric hopes that both the trades as well as career and technical education will come to be more valued in New Hampshire.

    Misty spent her sabbatical addressing the systematic statewide need to improve equity and social justice in New Hampshire’s education system. During her sabbatical, she worked with a variety of organizations locally while partnering with educators across the country through the Just Schools program to help provide easily accessible digital curriculum resources and community supports for educators. These supports helped teachers create their own mindful, equity-driven projects in the classroom.

    During her sabbatical, Kearsarge Regional Elementary School teacher Kristin Lizotte spent 2019 – 2020 establishing professional learning communities of teachers to create project-based and experiential learning opportunities for students in elementary schools across New Hampshire. To do this, Kristin created a website to serve as a hub for New Hampshire teachers. The site includes a moderated discussion board, professional learning materials, and unit and lesson plans. You can learn more about this work at http://3csnhsite.wixsite.com/threecsnh.

    Campbell High School teacher Justin Ballou spent the 2018-2019 school year building and testing a new project-based learning platform he developed called “Socrademy” to better stimulate and evaluate learning by turning a traditional class into a series of modern and tangible student-driven projects.

    Heather Drolet, a Technology Integrator and Media Specialist at the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord, developed NH Kids Code. This project inspired young learners to explore the possibilities of computer science while honing their critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills. Under Heather’s guidance, students developed their own mobile app as a way to showcase their knowledge of classroom content. This program gave NH elementary schools the opportunity to adopt a coding curriculum for a recess or after-school computer science club, where students can learn to be “Confident Coders.”

    2016: THOM SMITH
    Thom Smith, a Kearsarge Regional Elementary School teacher, brings experience, commitment, and a passion for building stronger science foundations to New Hampshire students. Mr. Smith’s sabbatical year was spent collaborating with partners around New Hampshire to develop and share an ecosystem curriculum and to deliver free professional development workshops to student teachers and current elementary educators about the process of creating and facilitating engaging science instruction. To learn more, visit Thom’s blog at https://engageyourstudents.org/tag/christa-mcauliffe-sabbatical/.

    2015: HEIDI PAUER
    Pauer, an English teacher at Bow High School, developed “Integrated Arts Coaching” which uses the arts and creativity to engage students in learning across subjects. Her workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions with educators provided students with new tools to help master whatever subjects they are studying and prepare them for the changing demands of a 21st century workforce.

    “Sound in Focus” was a residency program for grades 4 and 5 that inspired students to become mindful listeners. Michael used music, physics, biology, mathematics, film and ingenious experiments to engage students and teachers to help them focus on the aural world. Within weeks of the announcement that he had been chosen for the sabbatical, Michael filled every residency spot with a waiting list. An accomplished musician himself, Mr. Alberici’s love for music and for teaching is contagious and the teachers and students who will work with him will remember these lessons for years to come.

    Ms. Springhorn teaches humanities at Lebanon High School and her project expanded her work engaging students in discussions about contemporary and historic issues through the use of art. She used the works of award-winning freelance photographer James Nachtwey to introduce each study unit. Highly interdisciplinary in nature, the curriculum provoked inquiry, engendered compassion and inspired change. A resource such as this encouraged teachers to attempt the very difficult task of teaching about current global conflicts.

    2012: DAVID HOBBS
    Mr. Hobbs, an English teacher at Winnaucunnett High School spent the sabbatical year working with teachers around the state gathering how they promote 21st century reading and writing skills and sharing his research via a website, blog and book available on iTunes.

    Reading and writing teachers are looking to digital media to expand the definition of what it means to be literate in the 21st century. This project increased awareness and use of technological tools at the classroom level as well as promoted communication and collaboration between New Hampshire districts, schools, and classrooms and created a living and lasting place for New Hampshire teachers to celebrate student work in a 21st century medium.

    2011: DAVID KELLY
    David Kelly has been making middle school students excited about science for over 30 years. Several years ago when robotics competitions began to be popular he started researching less expensive ways to participate in such activities. He discovered VEX robotics systems which are smaller and more portable as well as being fairly inexpensive and started promoting competitions. His sabbatical year was spent expanding the number of schools using VEX robotics as well as hosting more competitions.

    2010: GRETA MILLS
    Ms. Mills teaches upper-level math and calculus to Hanover High School seniors but has developed a program of math modeling that allows middle school students to begin to learn about higher concepts of mathematics. Math models use physical representations of mathematical equations to demonstrate concepts and theories. Advanced students can build the models, and intermediate and novice levels use them to understand theories.


    Denise Dunlap began inviting senior citizens to her classrooms nearly 20 years ago. She found the interactions with the children spanned across the curricula. They brought history to life, helped students write stories for language arts and improved communication skills. She used her sabbatical year to establish a structured method for integrating seniors and students in other districts, and built a website for future classes.

    2008: INA AHERN
    Ina Ahern teaches science at Plymouth Regional High School and used her sabbatical year to bring her GIS experience and lesson plans to other teachers around the state. Ina’s project showed teachers and students how to use GIS technology to enhance their curricula in fields such as history, geography, civics, environmental science and even economics. Her facility with both teaching and technology make learning the new material seem effortless and fun.

    2007: BRUCE LARSEN
    Mr. Larsen designed his sabbatical program to empower other elementary-level teachers to be excellent science mentors to their students by exposing them to unique resources and modeling their use. Top-quality demonstrations and activities for classrooms help teachers not trained in the sciences overcome trepidations about tackling the science units. He hopes that his project will reach elementary teachers who already are comfortable with science teaching, and help them expand their use of new technology and enhance their classrooms.

    2006: LIBBY CURRAN
    Ms. Curran’s Reading Buddies program matches readers with same skill levels in pairs to encourage reading and improve skills. She created a series of books for the lowest level reader so all children can experience the success of reading a book. She brought her program to five elementary schools during her sabbatical year and they continue today as independent programs.

    Bill Church is a high school physics teacher whose project has been to help other teachers, especially in elementary and middle schools, use technology in their classrooms. He has matched high school seniors with teachers who request help with using technology – usually computers, but also robots and other “tech-y” things – to train the teacher to feel comfortable using these tools with their students.

    2004: SUE PRIBIS
    Ms. Pribis created a website for math (and other) teachers in elementary and middle schools to use to help them integrate math with everyday life. As a teacher herself, she found that trying to motivate students to simply learn and memorize the numbers wasn’t the best inspiration, but when she started using examples of real-life math, her students became very engaged. This project is a compilation of NH-based resources as well as a collection of the best online references and games that were found. Math extends far beyond the classroom walls!

    2003: DAN REIDY
    Dan Reidy created a website with video of NH’s geology. It was designed around the middle school science curriculum, to help teachers without a science background provide a comprehensive unit on NH’s geological treasures.

    2002: KAY MORGAN
    Ms. Morgan’s project takes place in the North Country, an area she lived and taught in for many years. Her project connects students to their communities through an interdisciplinary approach using the humanities. She will create print and web resources for teachers around the state, which will broaden the NH History Initiative and include aspects of art, literature, music while stressing the importance of the region and its heritage.

    2001: TOM SINTROS
    Connecting students with their physical environment and their community is what Tom Sintros’ Project PLACE is all about. Through his environmental science classes at Keene High School, Project PLACE has developed into a region-wide program that brings conservation, land stewardship and community planning from theory to reality for the students and teachers who participate. Similar to the highway adoption program, the students and teachers take responsibility for conservation lands and work with the communities to provide for its stewardship.

    2000: JIM BROUGH
    A pilot himself, Jim Brough developed an inexpensive program to introduce aviation to middle school children. Using flight simulator computer programs, students have “flown” all over New England, learning math, meteorology, geography, and teamwork. Colleagues in the flying community provide actual plane and flying experience for the students at the end of each program. This program motivates students by showing practical applications for classroom teachings.

    1999: MARK THOMAS
    Mark Thomas teaches at the Three Rivers School in Pembroke. His sabbatical year will be spent developing a hands-on science curriculum on orienteering for middle school students at four participating schools, incorporating math, physical education, and special education principles. Students’ natural curiosity and desire to explore and discovery will be channeled into scientific inquiry through this curriculum. The project will include training and outreach activities and result in materials being housed at the NH State Library.

    Barbara Hopkins is a scientist who loves to teach – most recently at Oyster River High School in Durham. Her plan is to develop a scientific instrument sharing system, connecting industry, the university system and public schools. Modern instrumentation is expensive. Individual schools might be unable to afford new equipment, but a lending “library” will provide a low-cost solution for teachers and students to access this new technology.

    “If children’s’ spelling is to cohesively interface with the reading and writing process, then we must redefine spelling and spelling instruction.” Matthews, a second grade teacher at the Deerfield Community School, plans to synthesize theoretical research into practical models for teachers to use in basic language arts instruction. Word study, not just spelling, is the basis of her innovative approach, which will culminate in a teaching resource for K-5 teachers.

    1996: MARK VALLONE
    Vallone, a social studies teacher at McKelvie Middle School in Bedford, is developing a 32-page color atlas of New Hampshire and a teaching guide to be used by students and teachers across the state. The atlas will offer a blend of history and geography using a variety of old and new maps. “I want kids to use real maps that real people use in their lives…teachers need stuff that’s interesting and will get kids’ attention.” The atlas and guide will provide a series of problem solving exercises aimed primarily at 4th grade student, but useful for junior and high school students as well.

    “High school students do not write enough. There aren’t enough good writing assignments or good writing teachers…I want to help teachers help students become better writers.” Sullivan, a 28-year veteran as a writing workshop teacher at Manchester West High School, used his sabbatical year to visit classrooms in 85 schools around the state. This experience went into the creation of a 90-day writing course that will be a practical guide to creative writing — one that can be used by any classroom teacher.

    Gibney, a computer specialist in the Merrimack School District since 1988, will organize a statewide conference for teachers addressing technology in the classroom. “My project is based on the recognition that peer coaching and collegial sharing can be a highly effective way to transmit techniques and skills.” In addition to a statewide conference, Gibney plans to recruit teachers who have successfully implemented computer projects into classroom activity to head coalitions, which will continue training at a local and regional level.

    “Children want to learn; they love challenging experiences…it’s up to us, the teachers, to provide them with opportunities to explore new horizons”. Wilson, a 21-year veteran, teaches a special curriculum of thinking skills called Mindstretch in the Kearsarge Regional elementary schools. Her project developed a notebook of activities for teachers, including videotape lessons and other materials to be presented in a series of in-service workshops around the state.

    “Typical mathematics teaching leaves out the most important ingredients: passion, romance, humor and imagination. We’ve got to put some fun into it!” Illingworth, a former mechanical engineer, currently teaches at Hollis Elementary School. He used his sabbatical to develop a manual for teachers, presenting a series of interactive, hands-on math problems designed to interest elementary schools students.

    “With scientific literacy at its lowest level, it is imperative that schools become more involved!” Pelletier, a science teacher of eleven years at Pelham High School, used her sabbatical year to develop a teacher’s curriculum that focuses on using microbes to foster students’ interest in the sciences. Pelletier has a particular interest in encouraging young women to enter scientific fields.

    A mathematics teacher for 22 years, Johnson, who teaches at Nashua Senior High School, believes that math “can be as interesting as life itself if students can experience it and apply it. It should be a source of excitement, pleasure and satisfaction.” His sabbatical project, geared toward at-risk students, has been the development of a textbook, which uses actual New Hampshire problems to teach math skills. 

    1989: PAMELA HOYT
    A teacher at Fuller Elementary School, Hoyt believes that “good teachers are not born. They are made by the teacher next door, or down the hall, or in another community. Educators improve the quality of education when they become sharers and mentors.” During and after her sabbatical, Hoyt shared ideas and activities for implementing Whole Language philosophy in classrooms by presenting workshops for teachers and administrators.

    1988: WENDY THOMAS
    “I don’t teach English, I teach kids. My best ideas have come not from books or courses, but from my colleagues and more importantly, from my students.” Sixteen years of teaching students, most recently at Southside Junior High School, has taught Thomas deep respect for her students. Her sabbatical project involved adapting two Shakespeare plays for students with reading difficulties using more modern language and prose style.

    1987: PAUL CUETARA
    A former industrial arts and computer teacher at Newmarket Junior-Senior High School with sixteen years of experience, Cuetara believes that new challenges face traditional vocational programs. For his project, Cuetara explored models, that could be adapted in New Hampshire schools for new, more relevant skill building, using new technologies such as Computer Assisted Drafting and Robotics.

    A Manchester Memorial High School history teacher with a twelve-year commitment to experiential education, Krolikowski developed many “hands-on” activities to stimulate his students. His sabbatical project was the research and writing of a New Hampshire history textbook and teacher’s guide that capitalizes on the experiential approach.

  • Application deadline

    Friday, February 9, 2024, 5:00 pm Eastern time
    Online application opens Monday, January 15, 2024

Application and grant process

Step 1

Learn more about the program and determine eligibility.

Read the Sabbatical Eligibility and Terms document to determine your eligibility.

To learn more about the program or receive eligibility feedback, please contact Jessica Kierstead at Wrffvpn.Xvrefgrnq@aups.bet,

Step 2

Prepare your application materials.

The McAuliffe application is available online at ScholarshipSource on Monday, January 15, 2024. It is recommended that you prepare your questions and supporting materials (listed below) prior to beginning the online application. Download the following documents:

Applicants will be able to copy and paste essay answers into the application.

Step 3

Prepare your project budget.

It is recommended that you create this document in MS Excel. Need help? Download our Writing a Good Budget document.

Step 4

Collect three letters of recommendation.

Step 5

Complete the Verification and Consent Form.

Download the Verification and Consent Form. Prepare and obtain approval (and signature) from your superintendent.

Step 6

Prepare additional supporting materials.

Applicants are also required to provide a resume that details professional, volunteer and civic activities and accomplishments for at least the past five years. Other materials/documents that support your proposal may be submitted.

Step 7

Log in or create new profile on ScholarshipSource.

Simply go to ScholarshipSource and sign in or click on “First Time Users Create Account” to create an account.

Step 8

Complete online application by 5:00 pm Eastern time on Friday, February 9, 2024.

The online application on ScholarshipSource will be available on Monday, January 15, 2024.

Step 9

Invitation for a personal interview.

Finalists will be selected in late February and invited for an interview with the selection committee in March.

Step 10

Receive funding.

If your project is funded, you will be notified in late March.

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Jessica Kierstead
  • Jessica Kierstead
  • Senior Student Aid Partner