About Sallie Mae and the First Class Awards
Sallie Mae is a corporation that provides funding and servicing support for education loans. Sallie Mae annually sponsors the First Class Teacher Award, recognizing the nation's most outstanding elementary and secondary educators during their first year of teaching.
The winners were nominated by their school superintendents and chosen by a panel of education experts based on their superior instructional skills and interaction with students, faculty, and parents. One teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Mariana Islands, and Virgin Islands was chosen. All 53 honorees came to Washington, DC, in September 1997 to share their experiences as part of the awards activities.