Northeast Exceptional Local Educator Award

Nominations are due to NEED by 11:59 PM ET May 1, 2023.


Association of Northeast Extension Directors’ (NEED) Exceptional Local Educator Award (ELEA) is given annually to celebrate an Extension educator or agent who provides leadership for the delivery of an exceptional program that is focused on the community level, responds directly to local issues or needs, and engages in exceptional program planning and assessment. A nominated individual may deliver the program alone or be a member of a program team. 

This award is intended to parallel the ECOP Excellence in Extension award which often recognizes individuals with a large scholarship portfolio and statewide leadership responsibilities. Nominations should not be submitted to both programs.

WHAT IS A PROGRAM? For the purposes of the ELEA, an Extension program is defined as a group or series of presentations, workshops, functions, demonstrations or other events and activities that form a comprehensive outreach, community coordination, or education curriculum, methodology or process that—along with associated resources—facilitate learning and/or behavioral change in audiences over time. For example, a conference developed and offered to address nutrition needs for teens would be an event rather than a program. The conference, however, may be one of many components that make up an Extension Teen Nutrition Program. 

PROCESS FOR SUBMITTING NOMINATIONS: Each NEED member, including 1890 ex-officio members, may endorse and submit one ELEAnomination per cycle for an individual as outlined above. Only NEED members may endorse and submit nominations. Extension personnel are encouraged to make recommendations to their NEED member by providing them a nomination package as outlined below. Self-recommendations are encouraged. Nominations will be managed, reviewed, and awarded by the NEED Awards Review Committee.

AWARD ELEMENTS: Once the winner is chosen, both the nominator and nominated individual will be notified of their commendation over email. The winner will be honored on a region-wide webinar, during which they will present their program to NEED members and guests from within and outside the northeast region. This presentation will be recorded and posted to NEED’s website alongside the program’s abstract and will be highlighted in a news story. The winner will also be awarded $1,000 to support professional development.


A complete nomination shall include a cover page and nomination narrative as described below.  

COVER PAGE: The cover page shall include the name and email of both the nominator and nominated individual; the title of the exceptional program; the institution submitting the nomination; and a program abstract (no more than 150 words). Nominations on behalf of a multi-state program should also include a list of primary out-of-state collaborators including their names, titles, and locations.

NOMINATION NARRATIVE:  The nomination narrative should make a case for the individual and program being delivered. Narratives must be written in Times New Roman font, 12 pt. or larger, single spaced. Nominations must address each of the five criteria below.

  1. ISSUE STATEMENT:  Briefly describe the issue, the reason for the program, and what was done to address the issue as if you were presenting to the public.
  2. NEEDS ASSESSMENT: Clearly present how the nominated individual came to understand and validate the issue/need. This should include detailed reference to validating data/experiences, stakeholder input and engagement, research, and indicators. The best nominations will identify the program’s audiences/customers/stakeholders and clearly describe the process(es) used to obtain their input and buy-in to program development and implementation.
  3. PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH AND DELIVERY: Explain the key components of the Extension program including scholarship and resources developed with special emphasis on any collaborative components. For this award, scholarship is defined as “creative intellectual works that are validated by peers and communicated”. For each resource, include why it was needed and the effect it had. Present any relevant partnerships.
  4. EVALUATION AND IMPACTS: Describe the evaluation methods used and the significant immediate-, mid-, and long-term impacts, outcomes and results achieved by the program. The best nominations will make the connection between identified needs and impacts achieved.
  5. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: Explain the way the nominated individual has and/or will use program evaluation, stakeholder input, and ongoing needs assessments to improve the program and/or inform the improvement of other programs. Identify lessons learned and how they will be used.


Endorsed nominations must be submitted to NEED Executive Director, Ali Mitchell ([email protected]) over email under the subject line “2023 NEED ELEA Nomination” by 11:59PM on May 1, 2023. Nominations should be submitted over email by the associated NEED member as a single PDF. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

All questions should be directed to [email protected]. Nominators will receive a “confirmed receipt” within one week of submission. If a confirmation is not received, please resend the submission.