There are many benefits of being a KEA member, including eligibility for scholarships, awards and grants sponsored by KEA, NEA and its partners.  Read on to see how KEA can help you grow in your profession and support you in your classroom or work site. 

The scholarships, awards, grants and contests that are currently open are listed below. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to collect all required information, including (for some categories) letters of recommendation. Interested applicants may check the submission requirements for each category by clicking through to the application form. 

Please check this page frequently, as new opportunities will become available in every category.


KEA President's Scholarships: Eligibility: These scholarships are awarded annually to Active certified and ESP members in each KEA governance district.  Description:  Funds are available to support members seeking a rank change (to Rank II (Master's) or to Rank 1 (hours beyond Master's)), or for those seeking National Board certification.  Continuing education scholarships are also available to ESP members.  The 2020-2021 application for KEA President's Scholarships is now open!  Click here to apply.  Deadline for all applications is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Friday, January 31, 2021.

KEA-Retired/Tom Denton Memorial Scholarship: Description:  Named for a past vice president of KEA and later, president of KEA-Retired, the Tom Denton Memorial Scholarship is funded by interested supporters of education.  Scholarships will be presented yearly using the principal and interest of the fund.  Each scholarship will be at least $800 but not more than $1000. Eligibility: Eligible applicants shall be juniors, seniors, or MAT candidates in a Kentucky college for the following school year.  Preference will be given to students who are KEA Aspiring Educator members, plan to teach in Kentucky, have an outstanding academic record and show evidence of financial need. You can download the scholarship guidelines and application here.  Applications will be judged using this rubric.  All applications must be received by KEA-Retired by 5:00 p.m. eastern, Sunday, January 10, 2021. 

Marnel C. Moorman Sr. Memorial Scholarship:  Eligibility: Current college students enrolled in an Education program at an accredited Kentucky university or college, or high school seniors who have a family member that is a KEA member and who plan to major in education.  Ethnic-minority status will be considered, but is not required.  Description: The Marnel C. Moorman Memorial Scholarship is given in memory of the first African-American to be elected President of the Kentucky Education Association.  Mr. Moorman was serving his 2nd term as president when he was killed in a car accident in 1994 while returning from a meeting with KEA members.  He believed deeply in diversity of the teaching profession and within the association.  The Past Presidents of KEA established this scholarship to preserve his memory and his many contributions to public education.  A $1000 scholarship will be offered to each successful candidate on a one-year basis.   Click here to access the Moorman scholarship application.  The deadline is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Sunday, January 31, 2021.

Deadline extended to February 19, 2021! Marvin Dodson-Carl Perkins Scholarships -  Eligibility:  Successful candidates must meet these requirements: 1) Be a member of the KEA Aspiring Educators; 2) Be college junior, senior, post-baccalaureate student or MAT candidate in a Kentucky college or university during 2020-21, and; 3) not have previously won a Dodson-Perkins scholarship.  Description:  Applications are submitted to the KEA MOVE Committee, which will determine the winners. KEA will award a total of $6000; no single award will exceed $1000 or be less than $500.  Winners will be honored at the 2021 KEA Delegate Assembly. Click here to access the Dodson-Perkins scholarship application.  The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Friday, February 19, 2021.

Representative Paul Mason Memorial Scholarship:  Eligibility:  Active or Retired ESP members, their children or grandchildren are eligible to apply.  Description:  This scholarship is named after Rep. Mason, who used his time in the Kentucky House to champion the cause of those less fortunate.  The scholarship will be awarded annually at the KESPA pre-delegate caucus, which usually occurs in March.   You can access the Paul Mason scholarship application here.  The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Sunday, January 31, 2021.


KEA Smith-Wilson Award for Civil and Human Rights in Education:  Nominations for the 2021 award are now open!  Selected each year by the KEA Diversity Committee, the award recognizes the work of Kentucky individuals or organizations that support and contribute to progress in racial and social justice.  Nominees do not have to be members of KEA, but must be persons or organizations that currently do relevant work or have recently done relevant work in Kentucky, and may be self-nominated or nominated by others.  Consideration will be given to nominees that: encourage and support minorities to select the teaching profession; advance opportunities for youth of color; initiate or continue impactful work in the areas of human and civil rights; or lead in the field of innovative, creative and equitable education for all students. Learn more about Ms. Smith, Mr. Wilson, and the history of the award here.  Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Sunday, January 31, 2021. 

Education Support Professional of the Year:  The KEA Education Support Professional of the Year Award recognizes the contributions of Education Support Professionals to their schools, communities, and their profession. The award is presented to a member of the KEA who demonstrates outstanding accomplishments and reflects the contributions of ESPs to public education. The award is $1,000 cash and is given at the KEA Delegate Assembly each year.  The 2021 KEA ESP of the Year will be submitted to NEA to be considered for the 2022 NEA ESP of the Year.  All current Active ESP members of a KEA local affiliate or bargaining unit who have been KEA members for at least three years as of December 31, 2020 are eligible.  You can access the application here. The deadline for all submissions is Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. 

2021 KEA Teacher of the Year:  Given annually, this award recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching and advocacy for the association. All current Active certified members of a KEA local affiliate are eligible. Each KEA local affiliate may submit one nomination per year. If a local has more than one possible nominee, then the local affiliate will determine the nominee. Only nominations submitted and endorsed by a KEA local affiliate will be considered.  The KEA Teacher of the Year will be  honored at the 2021 KEA Delegate Assembly, and will receive a $1,000 cash award and commemorative plaque.

The 2021 KEA Teacher of the Year will be KEA's contestant for the 2022 NEA Teacher of the Year.  All state affiliate nominees receive the California Casualty Teaching Excellence Award which funds travel to the gala. Each year, NEA selects five (5) finalists from the submissions they receive.  The five NEA finalists each receive The Horace Mann–NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence which include $10,000 cash and expenses-paid travel to The NEA Foundation’s annual Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington, DC.  One NEA Teacher of the Year will be selected from among the finalists; that person will receive an additional $25,000 in cash and a personalized commemorative gift.

Applications will be judged based on the following criteria: professional practice; advocacy for the association; community engagement; leadership in professional development; and attention to diversity.  You can view and submit the application here.  We encourage all applicants to preview the application requirements and give enough time to collect all required items. Deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Sunday, January 31, 2021.


Diversity Lesson Plan Contest - Do you have a great diversity-focused lesson plan that you want to share? KEA believes that diversity in the classroom is important for students of all races, and that understanding people from other cultures builds a strong social foundation for our country.  Each year, the KEA Diversity Committee sponsors a contest to select four lesson plans that emphasize diversity and present the concept to students in age-appropriate and engaging ways. Lesson plans will be scored based on this rubric. Four individual winners will each receive $200 and will be recognized at the KEA DA in April.  The contest is now open for 2020-21!  Be sure to submit your lesson plan here.  The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. eastern, Friday, January 31, 2021.

Deadline extended!!  #DifferenceMakers 2020-21 Student Art Contest is now open! Show us how talented your students are!  Have your students each submit an 8 1/2 X 11 portrait of the educator who has made a difference to them. Send your students' #DifferenceMakers portraits and one copy of this signed form for each individual submission to KEA by 5:00 p.m. eastern on Friday, February 19, 2021. One winner in each grade span (P-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12) will be selected.  The winning students and their teachers will each win $50!  All submissions must be received  at KEA, 401 Capital Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2021 to be considered.  With permission, winning submissions will be published in the KEA News and may be published on KEA social media platforms. 

2020-21 ESP Diversity Project:  The ESP Diversity Project contest encourages KEA ESP members to create a bulletin board or other visual project at their worksite with a theme of racial/social justice, encouraging diversity or accepting differences. All KEA ESP members are invited to participate.  Submissions can be by individuals or by teams. Projects will be judged by the KEA Diversity Committee.  Two individual winners will receive $100 each, or $100 per team (divided equally among the named team members).  Winners will be recognized at the 2021 KEA Delegate Assembly. If possible, the winning projects (or photos of the projects) will be displayed at the KEA DA. All entries must be submitted via the contest entry form not later than 5:00 p.m. eastern on Sunday, January 31, 2021.