Science of Reading Star Awards

Do you know an educator who has successfully brought the Science of Reading into their classroom? Are they a champion of their students? Has your district made it their mission to help students overcome their academic obstacles using the Science of Reading? Celebrate their achievements and honor their work by nominating them for a Science of Reading Star Award!

Congratulations to our 2021 Science of Reading Star Award Winners!

Science of Reading Superstar Teacher Award Winner

Anila Nayak

Instructional Coach and Reading Intervention Teacher

Lassen Elementary Title 1 School, Los Angeles, California

Science of Reading Standout School Principal Award Winner

Cathy Dorbish


Austintown Elementary School, Ohio

Amplifying Your District Award Winner


Alli Rice

Elementary ELA Lead

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, Kansas

Amplifying Your District Award Winner


Brittney Bills

Curriculum Coordinator

Grand Island Public Schools, Nebraska

Introducing our 2021 Science of Reading Star Award finalists!

Our first-ever Science of Reading Star Awards were a huge success! We received more than 300 nominations from all corners of the country, and heard inspirational stories from educators driving change with the Science of Reading in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

See below for the names and stories of our 2021 Star Award finalists.

Science of Reading Superstar: This award celebrates teachers who have directly impacted their students and served as role models for their colleagues by applying the Science of Reading. Their dedication to their students’ success is unparalleled and inspiring to others.

Our 2021 Science of Reading Superstar Award Finalists are:

  • Rebecca Bruening — 7th Grade Intervention Specialist, Painesville City Schools, Ohio. Read her spotlight.
  • Stacey Hamrick — Kindergarten Teacher, South Vermillion Community Schools, Indiana. Read her spotlight.
  • Julie Church, ESOL Teacher & Tanja Turchanik, Reading Specialist — Washington Elementary School, Pennsylvania. Read their spotlight.
  • Jennifer Marker — Literacy Coach, Shell Lake Elementary School, Wisconsin. Read her spotlight.
  • Anila Nayak —Instructional Coach and Reading Intervention Teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District, California. Read her spotlight.

Standout School: This award goes to goes to principals who have supervised the successful shift to the Science of Reading in many classrooms across several grades. These schools have faced challenges and has remarkable gains to show for it.

Our 2021 Science of Reading Standout School Award Finalists are:

Amplifying Your District: This award honors district leaders that have driven or is driving change using the Science of Reading. Their exceptional commitment has been noticed and the results are proof it’s working.

Our 2021 Amplifying Your District Award Finalists are:

  • Mara Shinn Smith — Senior Program Specialist, Reading & Language Arts, Los Angeles County of Education, California. Read her spotlight.
  • Stephanie Finn — Literacy Leader, West Genesee Central School District, New York. Read her spotlight.
  • Alli Rice — Elementary ELA Lead, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Kansas. Read her spotlight.
  • Brittney Bills — Curriculum Coordinator, Grand Island Public Schools, Nebraska. Read her spotlight.
  • Matt Warford — Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Aldine Independent School District, Texas. Read his spotlight.


All award winners will receive a $500 DonorsChoose gift card and a subscription to The Reading League Journal, and will be featured on an episode of Science of Reading: The Podcast to share their experience and achievements.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive full conference registration to Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning® 2022 conference and reimbursement of travel costs.


  • Application opens: Sep. 1, 2021
  • Application closes: Oct. 31, 2021
  • Finalists announced: Nov. 15, 2021
  • Winner announcement: Jan. 13, 2022
  • Plain Talk 2021 conference for Grand Prize winner: Feb. 9–11, 2022

Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions apply and are available at

Entries will be accepted from Sep. 1, 2021 through Oct. 31, 2021. Finalists will be announced on Nov. 15, 2021, and winners will be selected on Jan. 13, 2022. Three (3) winners will each be awarded one (1) DonorChoose gift card with a face value of $500 and one (1) subscription to The Reading League Journal equal to $150. One (1) grand prize winner will receive full conference registration and reimbursement of travel costs for Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning® conference taking place from Feb. 9, 2022 to Feb. 11, 2022, equal to up to $2000.

The instructional gifts associated with the present giveaway are intended to be institutional gifts to the winner’s school district and/or school. Should you be selected as the winner in the present giveaway, please ensure that acceptance of any of the instructional prizes awarded is fully compliant with your local rules regarding educational gifts to your district and/or school.

The application window for the Science of Reading Star Awards is now closed. Come back next year for a chance to nominate a superstar educator!