The Hero Teacher Project


Takeru Nagayoshi 2020 MA Teacher of the Year

Being a teacher today requires a high level of personal dedication. “Hero Teachers” are those that have been chosen by their state as truly exceptional educators. This amazing group deserves recognition. Through portraiture, I will share their unique story, including their struggles and their achievements. 

Join me and The Hero Teacher Project to watch their stories unfold. Let’s support our Hero Teachers and everything they do for our children. 

Get on BOARD! Join the HTP Mailing list today!

Mission Statement

We believe that teachers are the backbone of education. To elevate their love and labor through the magic of art, the Hero Teacher Project celebrates public school teachers by painting larger-than-life sized portraits of an inspiring teacher from each of the 50 states, plus DC. The paintings not only recognize the contributions of our nation’s leading educators, but also highlight those from historically underrepresented and unsung backgrounds, such as teachers of color and those who pioneer in the arts. Upon completion of this project, we will invite all 51 teachers and members of the public to Washington DC for an unveiling and celebration of their teaching excellence and of public education.


Teachers are amazing people that can be whatever their students, families, and schools need them to be. They are the glue that have been holding the woefully underfunded American school system together, at least for the past 20 years.

My aim with the Hero Teacher Project is to show the country what gems they have in each state. My goal is to tell the teachers’ stories. I want the country to come together around these 51 heroes and demand appropriate support for their unwavering efforts. I will make sure that teachers are celebrated appropriately by their own communities. Thus, ensuring teachers are always valued as a group of dedicated and highly skilled professionals whose only calling is to care for the children and the families of our nation.



Our goal is to begin our journey as soon as our The project is fully funded. We will be launching a page in AUgust 2022 to raise $25,000 for the first leg of the trip.


I will then continue the Hero Teacher Project in my future studio. During the 2023-2024 School year the remaining portraits will be completed.


In September of 2024 the culmination of The Hero Teacher Project will be an art show with all 51 Hero Teachers together with their portraits.


The Gilmores will travel around the United States of America to meet the 51 identified Hero teachers in an RV. My family will meet them and get to know our teachers. I will take photos, video, and make sketches while interviewing each teacher. We will get to know the teachers’ stories in their learning communities. All the while, sharing all of our discoveries and art we make with you, the American public. You will be along with us every step of the way on this incredible journey. Join the HTP Mailing list above.

In each teacher’s learning community is where I will take photos, make sketches, and conduct an interview with each Teacher. You will get to know these fine educators and their impact on their communities. I believe, once you know more about these extraordinary human beings you may very well start to listen to what they have to stay about what they think our students need to be successful human beings.

The Hero Teacher Project is your chance to be part of the experience, the conversation, and solutions to help American Public Education gain insight into what it’s like to be a teacher in the American Public Schools. Americans seem unaware what teachers actually do each day to have a successful, engaging, and safe learning space. I am quite sure that our Hero Teachers will surely be able to share their experiences and what is working and what needs attention in our classrooms in order to support our students’ growth.

When we come together to celebrate our Heroes we will come together to listen. These heroes inspire our young people everyday. It’s about time we listened to them about how we could not only inspire children to find their strengths but to actively support our students on their very important journey to adulthood. This is your chance to inspire greatness in every community in America through our teachers.

My wife, Lindsay and our children and dog will be helping me every step of the way to meet the Hero Teacher Project Mission and Goals. We are so excited to show them this great nation in such a granular and personal way.

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