HMH Announces Inaugural HMH Lighthouse Awards to Honor Educators

In partnership with Steve Pemberton and Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, HMH launches a nationwide contest to recognize teachers who have positively affected students, teachers and their communities

BOSTON Today, learning technology company HMH announced the inaugural HMH Lighthouse Awards, in partnership with acclaimed speaker and author of The Lighthouse Effect, Steve Pemberton and Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, Chief Operating Officer at NAIC and a “human lighthouse” featured in Pemberton’s book. The nationwide contest invites people to nominate, or self-nominate, teachers who have positively affected students, other teachers, and their communities. HMH believes that it is more important than ever to recognize teachers and celebrate all that they do for those around them. Call for entries opens today.

The Lighthouse Effect tells the stories of ten seemingly ordinary people who I met along my life journey. Their lives are much like lighthouses, humble in purpose and yet illuminating in their ability to guide and protect. The book was inspired by a high school teacher, John Sykes, who took me in as a teenager and turned my doubts into a destination,” said Steve Pemberton, acclaimed speaker and author of The Lighthouse Effect. “Carmen and I are thrilled to partner with HMH to recognize the special impact teachers have on students, schools and communities.”

Nominators are invited to write about a K-12 teacher who embodies one of the key characteristics of a teacher lighthouse, as exemplified in Pemberton and Ortiz-McGhee’s stories, and uplifts their students and community. The stories used in submission must have taken place in the 2022-2023 school year.

“These awards center around the idea that any of us in any given moment and any given interaction can be a lighthouse for someone or find a lighthouse for ourselves. I attribute much of the success in my life to the teachers who supported me, including Duchene Gerardi, my 7th and 8th grade French and English teacher,” said Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, COO at NAIC and a “human lighthouse” featured in The Lighthouse Effect. “All teachers deserve recognition for the important work they do and being able to celebrate some of them with Steve and HMH is an honor.”

“We know that the most important factor in student success is the strength of the student-teacher relationship. Empowering educators is vital to HMH’s mission, and we’re honored to partner with Steve and Carmen to recognize and shine a light on inspirational teachers who show resiliency, steadiness and mentorship to students, peers and their broader communities,” said Jack Lynch, CEO of HMH.

HMH will select ten K-12 teachers, currently employed and residing in the US. The ten award winners will receive a visit from Steve Pemberton and Carmen Ortiz-McGhee at their school in the 2023-2024 school year. Winners will also receive an all expense paid trip to the 2023 Model Schools Conference, June 25-28, in Orlando, FL.

The contest will run from March 13 through April 7, 2023. To nominate a teacher please submit your nomination here.

About HMH

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions, and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students’ potential and extend teachers’ capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 4 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit

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Victoria Walker