March 1, 2002

Nominations for Disney's American Teacher Awards Now Being Accepted

DisneyHand opens national search for America's best, most creative teachers

The Walt Disney Company is accepting nominations for Disney's American Teacher Awards, which honors outstanding teachers who inspire the joy of learning in America's public and private school students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. Nominations are being accepted from students, parents, colleagues, teachers and community members. Teachers can be nominated via a toll free number, 1-877-ATA-TEACH (282-8322) or online at www.disneylearning.org

Nominations will be accepted through March 31.

Disney's American Teacher Awards, now in its 12th year, was developed to honor outstanding members of the teaching profession whose talent, commitment and creativity have a profound and lasting impact on our children and society.

Past Honorees have included Hispanic teachers from across the country, including Angela Del Carmen Martín Gorno of Capistrano Valley, CA., Gabriela Epstein Yonker of Chevy Chase, MD., and Ana Raquel Beechner of San Antonio, TX.

"Support of education and teachers has been a long-standing commitment at Disney and we are proud to continue the tradition of honoring outstanding teachers," said Terry Wick, director, Disney learning initiatives. "We are also pleased to provide a forum in which they can continue to learn from one another and offer their insights and expertise."

Teachers selected as Honorees will be celebrated at a gala awards ceremony televised nationally. The person selected as Outstanding Teacher of the Year will receive $25,000. In addition, The Walt Disney Company will also donate $10,000 to that teacher's school. All teacher Honorees will receive $10,000 and their respective schools will receive $5,000. Since the program's inception, Disney's American Teacher Awards Honorees have received almost $5million. They are selected by a committee that includes representatives of prominent educational organizations, educational experts and former Honorees.

Students, parents, educators and community members from across the United States nominated 165,000 teachers for the Awards in 2001. Thirty-five Honorees were chosen by a selection committee, and awards totaling $515,000 were given to the teachers and their schools and districts. Ben Wentworth of Colorado Springs, who teaches math and science to students who are visually and hearing impaired, was selected as the Outstanding Teacher for Disney's American Teacher Awards 2001.

"One of the most exhilarating and humbling experiences of my life was being selected by my peers to represent them as the 2001 Disney Outstanding Teacher. Receiving this award has not changed my teaching style, but it has impacted my life style. I am now afforded numerous opportunities to champion the needs of students, teachers and education as a whole and this is exciting," said Wentworth.

Disney's American Teacher Awards is part of DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach of The Walt Disney Company dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through focused public service initiatives, community outreach, and volunteerism in areas including learning, compassion and the environment.

Disney's commitment to learning includes philanthropic support, resources and professional development to educators nationwide to foster creative classrooms and enable teachers to develop and implement innovative, engaging approaches to learning.

As part of this effort, Disney's American Teacher Awards Honorees take part in a summer professional development program designed to leverage their talents as exemplary educators, share their knowledge, and replicate their approaches with teachers across the country. Further, in 2001, Disney provided nearly $3 million to teachers and schools around the country. For more information about this or other DisneyHand programs, please visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com.

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