About the National Teacher of the Year Program

The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The NTOY is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a National Selection Committee representing the major national education organizations. Each April, the NTOY is introduced to the American people by the President of the United States.

Criteria for Selection

A candidate for National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) is a State Teacher of the Year who is 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. The National Teacher of the Year candidate should

  • 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

Becoming National Teacher of the Year

At the national level each State Teacher of the Year 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 fifteen 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 National Selection Committee is represented by these esteemed organizations:

These organizations represent all the major, noncurricular based, national associations representing the education profession. (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development represents all curricular areas.) Because of the broad range of constituencies within these associations, their consensus view embodies what is current and needed in education. This consensus view truly makes their selection the nation's Teacher of the Year.

Duties of the National Teacher

During the official year of recognition, the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) is released from classroom duties to travel nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession. The teacher's home state and district ensure the teacher's salary and benefits. All scheduling and logistical arrangements for the National Teacher are coordinated through the NTOY Program. National Teachers average over 150 events each year before audiences ranging from several hundred to over ten thousand. Television, radio, and the print media readily utilize National Teachers to represent the voice of education. The National Teacher may be called upon to represent American educators to audiences in other nations. National Teachers are frequently requested to sit on national and state commissions and policy advising bodies. Request the National Teacher of the Year for your event.

State Teachers of the Year

Participation in the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) 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.

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