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Programs & Services

Bridge Builder Award

The premier way we honor standout teachers and staff in Twin Falls is through our recognition and execution of the annual Bridge Builder Awards. Annually, nine classroom teachers, one school administrator, and one instructional support staff are honored for their efforts in forging a “Legacy of Leadership & Learning” in the difficult and vital work that they do. The nine winning classroom teachers will then have the opportunity to apply for the Twin Falls School District Teacher of the Year award, along with past Bridge Builder educator award winners who are current classroom teachers. The Twin Falls Teacher of the Year award winner then represents their district as the applicant for the Idaho Teacher of the Year award. We are honored to be a part of the nomination process to honor Idaho’s top educators.

It may be impossible to provide enough recognition for educators and staff — and the exceptional impact they have on the lives of their students. At Twin Falls Education Foundation, we take pride in doing our part to recognize teachers and district personnel for being the superhero’s they are — every day. 

Educators think carefully about their instruction. They share an infectious love for learning. They care about their students, both inside and outside the classroom. Outstanding educators go beyond everyday teaching and leave an impression that is carried over a lifetime.

The acclaimed Bridge Builder award acknowledges strong commitment to teaching and student success; excellence in teaching practices that reflect the highest standards of pedagogy; a record of outstanding teaching effectiveness within and outside the classroom; effective course design or program development; and the ability to inspire, promote, and sustain students’ intellectual growth emphasizing independent inquiry and critical thinking.

For additional information on our esteemed Bridge Builder Awards and this year’s finalists and winners, click here.

  • We believe effective teachers are foundational to student success. Empowering teachers and school personnel with the support they need to be effective is crucial.
  • Our annual Bridge Builder Awards is a premier event that celebrates outstanding educators and school personnel who consistently bring forth their best efforts and utilize their talents to ensure all students benefit from a high-quality education.
  • Every day, countless teachers and staff in our district make a difference in students’ lives. They play a critical role in providing a welcoming academic environment where every student can thrive and reach their fullest potential in school and in life — and deserve this recognition.

Nominees are selected across the following categories:

Administrator (1)

One district or school administrator is recognized for showing strong support for the school management team; demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation; exceptional leadership in managing school programs; commitment to educational quality and student achievement; commitment to professional growth; and creativity and innovation in dealing with issues and problems facing public education; foster cooperation between the school and community; maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as faculty and staff; demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment; continue to play an active role in the classroom. 

Educator (8) 

Great teaching in elementary and secondary settings is far more than classroom performance. In fact, the essence of teaching is not performance, but the effective creation of situations in which learning takes place. The list of criteria that follow represents some of the main things that define an outstanding teacher in Twin Falls School District. It is not an exhaustive list and other qualities of excellence can and do exist. Nor is it implied that the award winner must excel in all of these categories. In the final analysis, the outcomes achieved by the instructor should be regarded as more important than the techniques employed. 

Those being recognized should exhibit the following: Promotes active learning and successfully encourages students to think imaginatively, critically, and independently; exhibits a love of learning and instills a similar love, passion, and inquisitive nature among their students; helps students appreciate the relationship between the subject matter and its place in the scheme of things; demonstrates pedagogical techniques appropriate to, and effective with, a variety of different learning styles; interacts enthusiastically and effectively with students beyond the classroom, using before and after school hours and other opportunities productively to promote learning and address individual student needs.

Elementary and secondary nominees must be certified and demonstrate best teaching practices and have the respect and admiration of their colleagues and: is an expert in their field who advances growth for students of all backgrounds and abilities; builds collaborative relationships with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of equity and success; deliberately connects the classroom to community to impact student growth and learning; as lifelong learners and teacher leaders, they utilize innovation to create learning experiences within and beyond the classroom; express themselves in an engaging and clear way, conveying the lived classroom experience to a variety of audiences.


Novice educators are those who have been teaching for a minimum of three years and no more than six years within Twin Falls School District. They must display a commitment to a career in teaching and demonstrate the same qualities and attributes of an outstanding teacher as identified above in the educator category. 

Classified Support (1) 

Classified support personnel are recognized for ensuring students and schools have the proper care and services available to promote an enriched and safe environment. In school district lingo ‘classified’ positions are non-teaching positions — ones that don’t require a teaching credential. Positions like food service workers, bus drivers, secretaries, and instructional assistants in the schools are all examples of classified jobs. Each school, colleagues, students, or the community may nominate a person who supports the district through their classified position. The winner of the award will go on to compete for the title at the state, and potentially, national levels.

Teacher of the Year 

The Teacher of the Year award is selected from current and past Bridge Builder award recipients. These education professionals have been nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and the public for their dedication to the academic achievement of their students. The winner goes on to compete for Idaho State Teacher of the Year honors, and potentially the national Teacher of the Year.

Award Criteria

The award committee looks for persuasive evidence that nominees:

  • Are strongly committed to teaching and learning. This commitment might be demonstrated through activities designed to advance the quality and practice of teaching and learning, to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and/or global and multicultural understanding.
  • Use effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning, including, but not limited to innovative uses of technology, active learning, High-Impact Practices, and assessment.
  • Have a strong commitment to fostering the academic success of students through interaction with students outside of the classroom (e.g., advising, mentoring, recruiting, etc.).

The following are non-ranked examples of accomplishments that may be included as evidence.

  • Evidence of consistent excellent teaching;
  • Student success and/or accomplishments (test scores, etc.);
  • Advising and/or mentoring of students (e.g., internships, directed studies, club advisor, etc.);
  • Mentoring of other faculty;
  • Evidence of reflective teaching;
  • Intellectually rigorous, creative, and engaging pedagogy;
  • Teaching workshops, invited talks, or presentations;
  • External awards and recognitions by district, local, state, or national organizations for teaching excellence;
  • Sustained contributions to curriculum development, and/or innovative instructional techniques and technologies.


Any full-time employee of Twin Falls School District is eligible to be nominated for the award. The award recipient must be in good standing and under contract with the school district when the award is presented.

Award Amount

Each award consists of $1,000 and a beautiful, commissioned award statue commemorating the achievement.

Number and Frequency of Awards

Up to ten (10) awards may be presented annually, selected based on the qualifications of nominees scored against a rubric. Awards will be extended to educators, an administrator, and an instructional support individual. Awards are presented by area businesses recognizing the importance of education and achievements of educators and those in the profession.

Nomination Procedures