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 spring, the NTOY has been introduced to the American people by the President of the United States.

Criteria for Selection

A candidate for National Teacher of the Year is a State Teacher of the Year in a 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 has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:

  1. Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence,
  2. Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success,
  3. Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large,
  4. Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning, and
  5. Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.

Becoming National Teacher of the Year

Every state works with their State Teacher of the Year to submit a written application containing biographical and professional information, essays on a variety of topics, and letters of endorsement to the National Teacher of the Year Program. A National Selection Committee, composed of representatives from over 15 national educational and community organizations, meets in early December to choose four finalists from the nominations received. The National Selection Committee conducts personal interviews with the four finalists, and selects the National Teacher of the Year. Each spring, the National Teacher of the Year has been 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. 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 of the Year

During the official year of recognition, the National Teacher of the Year 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 of the Year are coordinated through CCSSO's NTOY Program. NTOYs average over 150 events each year before audiences ranging from several hundred to over ten thousand. Television, radio, and the print media readily utilize NTOYs to represent the voice of education. The National Teacher of the Year may be called upon to represent American educators to audiences in other nations. National Teachers of the Year are frequently requested to sit on national and state commissions and policy advising bodies.

To request the National Teacher of the Year for your event, use this form.

State Teachers of the Year

Each year, CCSSO brings together a cohort of State Teachers of the Year from the 50 states, five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity to participate in a year of professional learning through the National Teacher of the Year Program. Each state conducts a rigorous selection process to select their State Teacher of the Year.

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