Sarasota Military Academy Teacher Wins Army Instructor of the Year Award

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Morris “Ben” Weiss, Sarasota Military Academy Senior JROTC Instructor and Commandant of Cadets, was recently named the 2020 USACC JROTC Senior Army Instructor (SAI) of the Year by the United States Army Cadet Command (USACC). 

Every year, the USACC receives submissions from ROTC Brigades nominating one Senior Army Instructor for the consideration during the annual USACC Awards for Excellence. Applications are reviewed and each nominee must meet qualifications including an extensive list of criteria, nominations from the head of school and endorsements from the superintendent. Completed applications are reviewed and winners are selected from a list of finalists by the USACC reviewing board.

“We at the JROTC headquarters congratulate LTC Weiss for this prestigious honor. Recipients of the Senior Army Instructor (SAI) of the Year Award are icons of what JROTC is all about as we motivate young people to be better citizens,” said Colonel Michael A. Stinnett, Director of the United States Army’s JROTC Program. “Not only do our instructors teach, they coach, advise, counsel, mentor and lead their Cadets on to success, both while in high school and throughout their lives. We join in celebrating LTC Weiss’ outstanding recognition.”

According to USACC documents, selection criteria includes effectiveness in the classroom and community, examples of dedication to the profession of teaching, how the nominee compares to the school’s top classroom instructor, in what other activities is the nominee involved, and the instructors’ impact on the school’s JROTC enrollment and achievements of the cadets involved in the program. 

“We are proud to know that LTC Weiss has been named with this incredible honor; it is well deserved and we appreciate the opportunity to highlight one of our most distinguished, passionate instructors,” said SMA-COL Fred Fout, Sarasota Military Academy High School Head of School. “He has significantly contributed to the achievements and success of both our school and JROTC while at the same time serving as a professional role model for both our staff and our Cadets. LTC Weiss is a highly effective and competent instructor who has greatly increased the effectiveness and capabilities of our Academy while providing our Cadets with “once in a lifetime” opportunities while motivating them to be better citizens.”

The nomination letter, submitted by SMA-COL Fout, showcases a lengthy list of career highlights and achievements of LTC (R) Weiss. In addition to school-wide accomplishments, LTC Weiss manages the program’s budget and looks for ways to create and provide greater opportunities. Each fall, LTC Weiss travels with a group of cadets and chaperones on a four-day trip to the United States Military Academy at West Point, to receive an orientation to the campus and attend an “Army” football game. Due to the successful nature of the annual trips, which now include visits to the Naval and Air Force academies, SMA currently has eight graduates attending West Point, one senior with a letter of acceptance to West Point, one waiting to hear from the admissions committee and one senior with a letter of acceptance to the Air Force Academy as a recruited athlete.

About the USACC JROTC Program
U.S. Army Cadet Command manages the Army’s Junior ROTC program, which consists of over 310,000 JROTC Cadets across the U.S., four territories, and in four countries. These young men and women routinely exhibit higher attendance, grade point average and graduation rates than their schoolmates. Collectively, they perform more than eight million hours of community service annually. To learn more, visit

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit


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