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Selection Process

State Teachers of the Year

Participation in the National Teacher of the Year Program is available through the State Teacher of the Year Program. Each year the 50 states, five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity name a state teacher of the year. Within the states the selection processes vary, but each state conducts a rigorous selection procedure in validating the State Teacher of the Year's abilities in the classroom and in communicating the recipient's message to a broad audience. The National Teacher is selected from this group. 

For information on a state's selection process, contact its State Teacher of the Year Program Coordinator.

National Teacher of the Year

At the national level each state candidate submits a written application containing biographical and professional information, eight essays on topics ranging from personal teaching philosophy to the issues facing education, and letters of endorsement. A National Selection Committee, composed of representatives from fourteen national education organizations, meets in early December to choose four finalists from the nominations received and, following personal interviews with the finalists in Washington, D.C. in late February, selects the National Teacher. In April the National Teacher is introduced to the nation by the President and honored in a series of events in Washington, DC. 

The organizations represented by the selection committee are: 

  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education ( AACTE )
  • American Association of School Administrators ( AASA )
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT )
  • Association for Childhood Education International ( ACEI )
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ( ASCD )
  • Association of Teacher Educators ( ATE )
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children ( NAEYC )
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals ( NAESP )
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals ( NASSP ),
  • National Association of State Boards of Education ( NASBE ),
  • National Education Association (NEA ),
  • National Congress of Parents and Teachers ( PTA ),
  • National Middle School Association ( NMSA ),
  • National School Boards Association ( NSBA ) ,
  • National School Public Relations Association ( NSPRA ).
These organizations represent all the major, noncurricular based, national associations that represent the education profession. (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development represents all curricular area associations.) Because of the broad range of constituencies within these associations, their consensus view represents what is current and needed in education. This consensus view truly makes their selection the nation's Teacher of the Year. 

Criteria for Selection

A candidate for National Teacher of the Year should  be an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher in any state-approved or accredited school, prekindergarten through grade twelve, who is planning to continue in an active teaching status (Supervisory and administrative responsibilities should be of secondary consideration). 
  • inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn
  • have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues
  • play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school
  • be poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.

Council of Chief State School Officers
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW · Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001-1431
voice: 202.336.7000 · fax: 202.408.8072

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document last updated 12/6/2005