Barnes & Noble Kicks Off Annual “My Favorite Teacher Contest”

New York, New York – January 4, 2016 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced the start of the 2016 “Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest,” which provides middle and high school students the opportunity to tell their communities how much they appreciate their teachers. 
Students can nominate their teacher by writing essays, poems or thank-you letters that share how their teacher has influenced their life and why they appreciate and admire their teacher.  Participating schools collect the essays and submit them to their local Barnes & Noble store for consideration. Entries will be judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation and the quality of expression and writing. 
Teachers from grades 1 through 12 are eligible for nomination. Awards for winning teachers, schools and students include cash prizes, NOOK® by Samsung devices and more. The contest is broken down into local and regional winners, from which the Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year will be chosen.
The local winning teacher will be recognized in the spring at an event at their local Barnes & Noble store, where they will receive a special award acknowledging their achievement and additional recognition and praise from their community. The student who wrote the winning essay or poem will receive a certificate of recognition and also be honored at the ceremony. 
Each regional winner will receive a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card and a NOOK by Samsung.   From the pool of regional winners, Barnes & Noble will name one teacher the Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year. The winning teacher will receive $5,000 and the title of “Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher of the Year.” The national winner will be recognized at a special community celebration at their local Barnes & Noble store, and the winning teacher’s school will receive $5,000. The student who writes the national winning essay, poem or thank-you letter will win a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card and a NOOK by Samsung device.
“I never imagined I would win for the store or region. I certainly didn’t expect to win the national title,’ said Tara Hefner from Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, VA, the 2014-2015 national winner and Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year. “I gave half of my $5,000 to my student, Jeimy Alfaro, who crafted the essay to help her with her future education. My principal gave half of the $5,000 awarded to the school to the ESOL program. Everyone benefited, and that brought me so much joy. However, the letter that Jeimy wrote was the best reward! To know that in my student’s eyes, I am making a difference, is the greatest reward in teaching.”
Tara added, “It is truly a humbling honor to represent Barnes & Noble as National Teacher of the Year. My greatest hope is to use this platform to share the inspirational story of what can happen when a child has an advocate that believes in them and the importance of supporting our English Language Learners, as they possess so many skills, talents and abilities to better our world.”
Barnes & Noble has long supported teachers through Educator Appreciation Weeks, special discounts, personalized service, in-store events, bookfairs, store tours for classrooms, and, since 2011, the My Favorite Teacher Contest. 
“Teachers are a vital influence in the lives of children. They deserve all the recognition we can give them,” said Sarah DiFrancesco, Vice President of Business Development for Barnes & Noble. “There’s rarely a dry eye in the audience during a My Favorite Teacher event at Barnes & Noble. Our booksellers love this program, because it makes such an impact on everyone participating. A bookstore, after all, is much like a school – both are places of learning and aspiration.”
The Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest begins January 4, 2016, and ends March 1, 2016. Students who want to participate must submit their essay or poem to their local Barnes & Noble store by March 1. Only middle and high school students and active teachers employed in elementary, middle or high schools in the United States are eligible to win.  More details on the contest rules, and photos and the winning essay from the 2015 Contest, can be found at

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company, the nation’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 647 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, ( The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store features more than 4 million digital books in the US ( and UK (, plus periodicals, comics, apps, movies and TV shows, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.