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Educational Award


The President of the Republic’s Educational Award can be presented to people connected with the field of education at all levels of study, who have achieved outstanding results as teachers, faculty members, directors of educational institutions, compilers of textbooks and methodological materials, by initiating and implementing practical innovations in the field of education, or developing educational policy as an education official.

Nominations can be submitted by the people who correspond to the aforementioned requirements themselves, or by their employers, educational institutions, as well as associations dealing with the field of education. Suitable candidates can also be submitted by the members of the Cultural Foundation’s supervisory board.

In order to nominate a candidate, the following must be submitted: a written application with personal information (name, address, education, and work experience), a detailed description of the activities being submitted for the award along with recommendations from the candidate’s employer or working collective, professional, occupational or specialized association(s). These documents should be sent to the President of the Republic’s Cultural Foundation at A. Weizenbergi 39, 15050 Tallinn, or with a digital signature by e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The supervisory board of the Cultural Foundation shall choose three award winners from the applicants. If necessary, the Cultural Foundation may ask experts from other fields of activity for advice and recommendations on assigning the award.

The decision to present the award is made on a consensual basis and coordinated with the Estonian branch of Danske Bank A/S (hereinafter, Danske Bank).

The prize is awarded every autumn.

It is valued at 12,000 euros and is divided between three recipients. The prize is sponsored by Danske Bank, which undertook to continue funding the prize for three years after entering into the sponsorship agreement.

The awards shall be presented by the President of the Republic.


Laureates to date:

(From 2003 to 2008, the Educational Award was financed by Hansapank)


Tarmo Kerstna – a long-time teacher and teaching methodologist, also a long-time headmaster of Ülenurme Secondary School and educational leader
Kersti Nigesen – Headmistress of the Old Town Educational College, creator of a new type of educational institution and a unique model of education
Martin Ehala – Head of the Chair of Estonian Language at the Tallinn Pedagogical University, Professor, author of reference books and textbooks


Jüri Vene – a long-time schoolmaster, teacher in Miina Härma Secondary School
Tiia-Ester Loitme – Head of the Ellerhein Children’s Choir from 1989. Excellent music teacher, internationally renowned choir conductor and teacher of school music
Irene Käosaar ja Peeter Mehisto – leaders of a successful language bathing programme, introducers of new language learning methods in Estonia


Lauri Leesi – Headmasster of the Tallinn French Secondary School, for introducing a humanist view in teaching and education process
Inge Unt – Professor Emeritus, Tartu University, founder of the Estonian school of didactics
Evald Laprik – a long-time educational leader, founder of the Union of Estonian School Headmasters


Helgi Uudelepp – teacher of mathematics, Gustav Adolf Secondary School
Mart Kuurme – teacher of physics; Tallinn Secondary Science School
Rein Grünbach – teacher of art, C. R. Jakobson Secondary School, Viljandi


Tiina Talvi – biology teacher and headmistress, Lümanda Main School
Ene Jakobson – the founder and long-time leader of the dance ensemble "Sõleke"
Vladimir Ossipov – teacher of chemistry, Tallinn 53rd Secondary School


Nora Mals - Russian language teacher at the Tallinn Secondary Science School
Ülle Liiber - trains geography teachers at the University of Tartu
Urve Krause - the director at the Pärnu Kuninga Street Basic School


Urmas Kokassaar – biology didactics lecturer at the Science Education Centre of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Tartu
Terje Varul – teacher of Estonian language and literature at Kolga Secondary School
Heli Adamovitš – the director of Päikene kindergarten in Narva


Leili Sägi – Pärnu Russian Secondary School, teacher of Estonian language and literature
Villu Baumann – Haapsalu Sanatorium Boarding School, work and technology teacher
Maia Lilje – Georg Ots Music School in Tallinn, teacher of music history


Viivi Maanso – Tallinn University, Senior Lecturer Emeritus
Andres Talts – Tallinn Secondary Science School, teacher of mathematics
Reet Noorlaid – Tartu Miina Härma Secondary School, teacher of English


Aime Punga – Director of Studies at Hugo Treffner Secondary School
Toom Õunapuu – Pedagogy researcher, methodologist in Estonian language teaching and textbook author
Urve Keskküla – Exercise group instructor at Tallinn Nõmme Youth House, member of the artistic board of gymnastics and dance parties and designer and director of gymnastics programmes


Tiiu Peäske – Head of the String Section at the Tallinn Music Secondary School, long-term violin teacher and famous tutor of interpretation performers
Epp Vodja – Executive Director of the Junior Achievement Eesti Foundation, teaches economics and business at the 21st Secondary School in Tallinn, Manager of the Pupil Firms Programme
Mart Noorma – Head of the Centre for Development of Studying and Teaching at the University of Tartu, Academic Vice Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, initiator and leader of the student satellite project, science propagator


Kadri Leppoja – music teacher at the Miina Härma Upper Secondary School in Tartu. Her choir singers have participated in many musical productions and the choirs have been invited to numerous national events.
Väino Ratassepp – active and very experienced educationalist and chemistry teacher. He has been engaged in the development of chemistry curricula for basic and secondary schools, has published countless articles on chemistry and chemistry workbooks for general education schools, as well as 12 chemistry textbooks.
Galina Trofimova – head of the technology studies section of the Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Centre. She has developed and popularised those specialties in the sphere of vocational education that are uniquely characteristic of the Ida-Viru County: miner, chemical processes operator, industrial technologist.


Lilian Tambek teaches physics at the Viljandi Vocational Training Centre. She has worked in education for 52 years and has a degree in didactics of physics. In 2014 she founded the Taibukate Teaduskool non-profit association, which has gained popularity and enticed interest in real life sciences and natural sciences among many pupils.
Hele Kiisel has been teaching mathematics at Hugo Treffner Upper Secondary School for many years, she is a teacher-methodician and propagator of educated life. In addition to teaching, she has initiated and carried out several educational innovations with a positive effect across Estonia. Hele Kiisel has been one of the main supporters of the traditional Five School Competition in real life sciences. She heads the School Mathematics Association of the Estonian Mathematics Society, takes active part in various mathematical book publications, and works with the University of Tartu and the Tallinn Technical University in the field of teacher training.
Hendrik Agur is the headmaster of Gustav Adolf Upper Secondary School. He has implemented at the school the system of subject chairs, involving all teachers in the process of vital decision-making and school management, thus raising the quality of education. He has initiated the introduction of several technological solutions that included for the first time in Estonia an electronic pupil ID and a mobile pupil ID, as well as different new solutions aimed at diversifying the learning process and making it more interesting.