Elgin Heinz (1913-2005)
A pioneer in educating American students about Asia, Elgin Heinz served throughout his life as a consultant on the development of materials and methods for teaching about this region of the world. Born in China in 1913, Heinz attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with degrees in philosophy and public speaking and eventually earning a graduate degree in history from San Francisco State University. He spent forty years teaching in San Francisco's Public Schools, at first teaching literature, and later, geography and history. During his tenure as a teacher, Heinz became nationally known for his efforts in assisting students and teachers to learn more about Japan and Asia broadly.
In addition to classroom teaching, Heinz was active in a number of organizations, including the Association for Asian Studies, the Asia Society, the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He served as the Japan Society's Education Director in 1960. Heinz has authored and edited numerous publications on teaching about Asia, including two widely used curriculum guides, Opening Doors and Stepping Stones.
Heinz has been the recipient of many awards including the National Council for Geographic Education's California Teacher of the Year and, in 1997, the World Affairs Council of Northern California's Castile Award. Perhaps the award that most epitomizes his groundbreaking work in K-12 Asian Studies was the Association for Asian Studies Committee on Teaching About Asia's 1987 recognition of Elgin Heinz for "Fifty Years of Innovative Teaching About Asia."*
(*Biographical information regarding Elgin Heinz and photograph were taken from the Fall 2000 issue of Education About Asia and were reprinted with permission from the Association for Asian Studies.)
The award is open to current full-time K-12 classroom teachers of any relevant subject in the United States. There are two award categories, one in the humanities and one in Japanese language.
Previous award recipients often have over 10 years of teaching experience and have been engaged in teaching their students about Japan for a substantial period of time. Candidates must demonstrate sustained commitment to improving mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese, and must have made a significant contribution to enhancing students’ knowledge of Japan.
Applicants for the Japanese language category must have excellent command of the Japanese language and may be contacted by members of the selection committee to verify this.
Applicants for the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award need not be nominated to apply. However, the Foundation is always seeking to encourage the nation's top educators to consider applying for the award. Therefore, we welcome nominations of individuals qualified to apply for the Award.
Letters of Nomination should briefly highlight the qualifications of the candidate and must include his/her name, contact information, and indicate the school at which the candidate currently teaches.
The Foundation will accept Letters of Nomination at any time and will inform candidates that they have been nominated for the Award. Those nominated must submit a full application as indicated below.
Nominators should keep in mind the deadline for applications is in early February. Therefore, it is recommended that nominations be submitted by early December in order to provide potential candidates the time needed to compile their applications.
Letters of Nomination should be sent to:
Mr. David Janes, Director of Foundation Grantsand Assistant to the President
The United States-Japan Foundation
145 E. 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicants must submit the following documents by February 5, 2014 to be considered
(please note: all materials must now be submitted in hard copy) :
1. Cover Sheet that includes the following information:
A) Full name and home address
B) School name and address
C) E-mail and telephone contact information
D) The award category for which you are applying: Japanese Language or Humanities
E) The subjects and grades you currently teach
F) A list of Japan-related programs in which you have participated
G) Names and contact information for those submitting letters of support
2. A narrative (not to exceed three (3) pages typed, double spaced) describing your efforts to further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese through your classroom teaching. Please describe your classroom atmosphere and your approach to teaching about Japan or Japanese Language. Applicants should also highlight leadership positions held and detail how they have impacted other educators locally and/or nationally.
3. A two-page project proposal and budget describing how you would use the award's $5,000 project funds to enhance understanding of Japan at your school or in your school district (project funds are typically awarded to the awardees' school and, since these funds are awarded as a grant, the Foundation reserves the right to amend this portion of the application). For example, such funds could be used to purchase curriculum material on Japan, for field trips to Japan-related organizations, to bring in guest speakers on Japan, for Japanese software, etc.
4. Three letters of support from individuals or organizations familiar with you and your teaching on Japan. A letter from a student explaining how your efforts affected his/her perceptions and understanding of Japan is permissible as a letter of support. One letter must come from the school's principal or vice principal and must express support for your project proposal in addition to supporting your candidacy for the award. Support letters can be sent under separate cover or included with all applicatilon materials.
5. A professional resume
The application should be submitted in hard copy to the Foundation at the following address:
Mr. David P. Janes
Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President
United States-Japan Foundation
145 E 32nd Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 481-8757
Note: no electronic documents will be accepted.
Deadline for 2014
Complete applications must be received by the Foundation on or prior to February 5, 2014 to be considered for the 2014 award.
Review and Selection
A national selection committee will review complete applications received by or on February 5, 2014. The selection committee consists of leaders in the field of education about Japan. The award winners will be announced in May.
Ms. Patience Berkman
Chair, History Department, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
2002 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Humanities Category)
Ms. Leslie Okada Birkland
Japanese Language Consultant
2005 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Japanese Language Category)
Dr. Lucien Ellington
Editor, Education About Asia
Director, Asia Program
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Mr. Christopher Livaccari
Upper Elementary School Principal, International School of the Peninsula
Senior Advisor, Asia Society
Ms. Margaret Lonzetta
Independent Consultant, International Studies and Global Education
Ms. Mari Maruyama
Vice President, The Laurasian Institution
Mr. Norman Masuda
Former Instructional Supervisor of World Languages, Palo Alto High School
2002 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient (Japanese Language Category)
Mr. Gary Mukai
Director, Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education
Ms. Lynn Parisi
Director, Program for Teaching East Asia
University of Colorado at Boulder
Mr. Michael Rubin
Former Director, NYC Public Schools Japanese Language Program
The United States-Japan Foundation
145 E. 32nd Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Questions about the Award should be directed to David Janes, Director of Foundation Grants at
(212) 481-8757 or via e-mail at email@example.com.