2023 ESP of the Year Criteria and Standards

Purpose: The MSEA Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year Award recognizes the contributions of ESPs to their schools, communities, and their profession. The award is presented to a member of MSEA who demonstrates outstanding accomplishments and reflects the contributions of ESPs to public education.

Eligibility: All current ESP members of an MSEA local affiliate who have been members for at least three years as of January 1, 2023 of the award year are eligible. A nominee must be an active member at the time of selection. Individuals can be nominated by other MSEA members or through their local association. Local association nominees must obtain the signature of the local president.

Please note: Nominations will be automatically disqualified if: the nomination packet is not complete; the nomination is received after the deadline; the local association nomination is not signed by the local president; or the nomination includes handwritten documents, clippings, articles, or photos.

Selection: All nominations must comply with the procedures for nomination and submission guidelines.

Once the MSEA ESP of the Year is selected, the person or local affiliate who nominated the winner is responsible for ensuring all supporting materials and items needed for the award are sent to the MSEA ESP staff organizer.

Applications will be evaluated by the MSEA ESP Organizing Committee, which is comprised of MSEA members and approved by the MSEA Board of Directors.

Criteria: Nominations are judged according to the following five criteria: Professional Practice; Member Advocacy and Association Involvement; Community Engagement; Personal Achievement and Enhancement of ESP Image. The MSEA selection committee members will rate nominees on a scale of 1 to 5 for each criterion, where “1” represents minimal evidence of the criterion, and “5” represents very strong evidence of the criterion.

1. Professional Practice—Include worksite responsibilities and professional achievements the nominee has made in their field; include examples of leadership, creativity, and innovation in making a difference for students and the school or workplace. The nominee must be in good standing with administrators and supervisors in the school building and on the worksite. The nominee must have positive evaluations and demonstrate a desire to enhance skills by using professional development opportunities.

2. Member Advocacy and Association Involvement—Include descriptions of the nominee’s leadership, creativity, and innovation in advocating for members, the profession, and public education; include how the nominee’s involvement in MSEA or the local affiliate contributes to professional success; include descriptions of how the nominee is active in member recruitment and encouraging colleagues to be more involved members. The nominee must have demonstrated involvement in activities such as one-on-one meetings, professional development trainings, committee memberships, attending building rep or all-member meetings, lobbying (via emails, phone calls, or personal meetings with legislators), canvassing, phone banks, and/or serving as a delegate to state (MSEA) or national (NEA) meetings, etc.

3. Community Engagement—Include details on how the nominee is involved in promoting public education within the community through charitable projects and activities and examples of how that involvement has benefited students, families, and members. The nominee is active in community roles that enhance the quality of life for citizens through public service, family engagement, spiritual support, education, etc. This may include, but is not limited to, parent teacher organizations, fraternities and sororities, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, etc.

4. Personal Achievement—A description of the nominee’s personal and/or professional goals including: what the nominee is doing or has done to meet these goals; how their growth and goals benefit students, members and/or the community; a list of any professional awards or honors; and, what advice they would give to a colleague entering the profession.

5. Enhancement of ESP Image—Include details of how the nominee’s activities have enhanced the image of ESPs at the worksite, in the association, and in the community. The nominee has demonstrated a reputation of commitment and passion for education that greatly enhances the image of support professionals in public education. This may include, but is not limited to, positive posts on social media, public comments at school board, county council, or association meetings, and/or initiating events and activities that emphasize the role of ESPs in public education.

Procedures for Nomination

Nominations may be submitted by individual members or through a local association. The nominator must describe the nature of the achievement of the nominee citing the stated criteria. Local association nominees must obtain the signature of the local president.

Nomination Form: Nominator must use the form provided. Click here for the nomination form.

Nomination Letter: (Limit two pages, 12-point font, double spaced, one-inch margins on all sides) The nominator must provide a description of why the nominee is an outstanding support professional. Please provide specific examples of noteworthy achievements in the following categories: (1) Professional Practice; (2) Advocacy and Association Involvement; (3) Community Engagement; (4) Personal Achievement; and (5) Enhancement of ESP Image. Additional information may be included.

Biographical Information: (Limit two pages, 12-point font, double spaced, one-inch margins on all sides) Provide brief bullets of the nominee’s work and professional experience, which may include:

1.Professional positions held
3.Association positions
4.Positions with outside organizations, community groups, or partners
5.Honors and achievements

Letters of Endorsement: (Two letters, limit one page maximum for each, double spaced, 12-point font, one-inch margins on all sides, handwritten letters will not be accepted) Nominees must include two letters of endorsement. Letters should be from those who know the nominee well, such as association leaders, colleagues, current or former students, parents of students, community members, etc. Letters must note how long the writer has known the nominee and in what capacity the writer is able to comment on the nominee’s professional, association and/or community work.

Submission Guidelines

Send nomination packages via email to: [email protected] or by U.S. mail to:

Attn: MSEA ESP of the Year Application
140 Main Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Questions? Contact Sean McKillop [email protected] 240/405-9650

Deadline for the MSEA ESP of the Year submission: June 30, 2023

A winner will be chosen by September 30, 2023 and recognized at the MSEA Representative Assembly in Ocean City October 20-21. The MSEA ESP of the Year will be submitted as a nominee for the NEA ESP of the Year. Please note that additional requirements may need to be met in order to comply with the NEA’s nomination guidelines.