Kohl Awards


Annually the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation recognizes 46 WCRIS students, teachers, principals and schools with a total of $496,000 in Principal, Teacher, and Student awards in grants to distinguish and promote excellence in K-12 education in Wisconsin.

Fourteen Teacher Fellowship award recipients receive $6,000 each and another $6,000 for his/her school.

Fourteen Student Excellence and 14 Student Initiative scholarship winners each receive $10,000.

Four WCRIS principals receive $6,000 each and another $6,000 for his/her school, from the Excellence in School Leadership Award.

Each year, one Teacher Fellowship Winner is selected  from among the 14 winners to receive the Private School Teacher of the Year Award. The chosen teacher receives an additional unrestricted award of $3,000.

Since the awards were created in 1990 by philanthropist Herb Kohl, WCRIS has worked with the Kohl Foundation to collect teacher nominations, distribute and collect applications, and assist with the selection committee process.

The Foundation has awarded $2 million to WCRIS students, teachers, principals and schools since the awards were initiated.

Award winners are notified individually by the Foundation in March. WCRIS winners are posted on the WCRIS website and announced in a special edition Current Events eNewsletter. Winners are recognized at regional receptions in April. Senator Herb Kohl attends each ceremony along with WCRIS Board members and staff.

Quick Facts
  • $2 million  awarded to WCRIS teachers, students, principals, and their schools since the program began in 1990.
  • $496,000 available each year for four WCRIS principals and their schools, 14 WCRIS teachers and their schools, and 28 WCRIS students.
  • $6,000 for each Excellence in School Leadership award winner, and $6,000 for his/her school.
  • $6,000 for each Teacher Fellowship award winner, and $6,000 for his/her school.
  • An additional $3,000 for one of the 14 Teacher Fellowship award winners.
  • $10,000 for each Student Excellence and Student Initiative award winner.
Helpful Hints When Applying for a Kohl Award

Common mistakes to avoid when completing the Kohl Foundation award applications:

  • Avoid overusing generic adjectives and phrases to describe your accomplishments. Also, ask authors of your recommendation letters to avoid education jargon and generic adjectives.
  • Be careful to make high-quality copies of the application if you are not submitting the original. Poor duplication can cost the applicant points.
  • Applicants should not provide extra information not required by the application’s instructions.
  • Letters of recommendation should reference the Herb Kohl Foundation at least once.
  • Follow the application instructions exactly, including the formatting directions.
  • Important: Retype the question on the word document in which you answer the application questions (per application instructions). This is one of the most common mistakes made and one of the biggest reasons why applicants lose points. This is an avoidable mistake.
  • Proof read your application. There should be NO spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.