Suggestions for Schools Conducting Teacher of the Year Contests

Project Design

  • Start planning early. District-nominated teacher of the year applications are due to the appropriate Regional Education Service Center in June of each school year.
  • Give the project high priority. Talk to administrators in other districts that participate. Check with the regional coordinator at your Education Service Center if you do not know which districts participate. Contact the state coordinator at TASA for assistance.
  • Include teachers in the planning process.
  • Make the focus of your program the recognition of local teachers, not the competition for a state-level nominee.
  • Recognize more than your teacher nominees as part of any awards program or event to promote the perception of the program as one that recognizes teaching excellence, and not one that divides winners and losers.
  • Designate one central office staff person to serve as coordinator of your district teacher of the year program. In many districts the director of public information coordinates the program. Curriculum and personnel directors might also take on this duty.

Nomination and Selection

  • Use a democratic process to select your nominee.
  • Districts might decide to allow teachers to nominate themselves for the honor. This may work well in smaller districts.
  • Principals on each campus might ask teachers to nominate one of their peers to represent their campus in the local district contest. The nomination forms could include supporting statements.
  • Alternatively, principals might ask department heads to select a campus nominee. Campus faculty councils or advisory groups might select several nominees, with one campus representative chosen from among the nominees by a vote of all teachers on the campus.
  • Another option is to involve parent organizations in selecting campus nominees.
  • Once campus representatives are chosen, or if nominations are open to all interested teachers, a district selection committee might be appointed. This committee might include representatives of parent groups, teacher organizations, non-certified personnel, principals, the president of a high school student council, the local newspaper publisher, the chamber of commerce president, a school board member, previous teachers of the year and others. Existing committees within the district, such as curriculum councils or district-wide faculty councils, might also take part in selections.

Publicity and Sponsorship

  • Enlist the help of your local newspaper and/or television station to publicize the selection of your teacher of the year. Tell your local news media representatives about the program and this positive story about public education.
  • Ask local businesses and organizations to get involved with your program and seek their support for awards and recognition.
  • Honor the winners and finalists at special functions and at any annual staff banquet. Ask the teacher of the year to represent your district at community functions, as well as at regional, state, or national conferences.

Reasons to Participate in the Texas Teacher of the Year Program

Consider nominating candidates for Texas Teacher of the Year. See the Texas Teacher of the Year application packet as well as eligibility information. The program has many benefits, and the time and effort spent in the nomination process is a worthy investment.

  • Deserving teachers feel honored and appreciated.
  • Students feel pride when their teachers are recognized.
  • Parents are reassured that their children are learning from well-regarded professionals.
  • Schools, districts, and their communities receive positive attention and media coverage.
  • Texas public education as a whole benefits from shining the spotlight on the state’s best teachers.

See also TOY Program Helps Tell Teachers’ Stories.