Teacher of the Year
Washington's Teacher of the Year program recognizes a cohort of regional finalists and selects one state Teacher of the Year annually. This state Teacher of the Year is Washington's nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is eligible for Teacher of the Year?
Any certificated teacher is eligible if they are -
- Currently teaching.
- Serving in a position where at least 50% of their time is spent giving direct instruction to students in a classroom setting.
- Planning to continue teaching for at least two more years.
- How do I nominate a teacher?
Nominate your teacher online using the Educator of the Year Nomination Form. Nominations are closed. Nominations will open for 2025 in January 2024.
After the nomination is submitted, OSPI will send your nominee, their principal/supervisor, and their regional coordinator a copy of the nomination and a link to the online application.
- How is the Teacher of the Year selected?
Washington's educational service districts each select a Regional Teacher of the Year. The state selection committee chooses one of these Regional Teachers of the Year as the Washington State Teacher of the Year. The state committee uses the written application, interviews, a short keynote, and a mock press interview to decide which candidate best exemplifies the Teacher of the Year criteria:
- The teacher has the respect of their community.
- The teacher is knowledgeable in their field and guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
- The teacher collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
- The teacher deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large.
- The teacher demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning.
- The teacher expresses themselves in an engaging way and effectively communicates about the classroom experience to a wide variety of audiences.
- When is the Teacher of the Year selected?
The Teacher of the Year is selected in mid - late August. Regional finalists participate in interviews, a short keynote presentation, and a mock press interview followed by a weekend leadership retreat. The State Superintendent announces the Teacher of the Year on the Monday after the leadership retreat during an annual award ceremony.
- How are Teachers of the Year Recognized?
State and Regional Teachers of the Year -
- Are recognized at the Award Ceremony and Spring Reception at the Mansion.
- Attend a leadership retreat and have opportunities for continuing professional development throughout the year.
- Have opportunities to participate in communications project such as the annual From Seed to Apple collection.
- Identify and advocate for educational issues of particular interest to them and are encouraged to speak or present in their region and around the state.
Additionally, the State Teacher of the Year -
- Represents the state at all required National Teacher of the Year events, including several national leadership conferences and the national recognition week in Washington, D.C.
- Serves as the Teacher-in-Residence for Washington's Teacher of the Year program January - June.
- Responds to and fulfill Teacher of the Year speaking requests, presentations, etc.
- Identifies statewide issues of interest to them and carry out a project aligned with those issues.
- Visits every region of the state to connect with alumni award winners and strengthen alumni network.