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Home » Educator Support » Awards & Recognition » Educator Awards » Teacher of the Year

Teacher of the Year

Nominations are now closed

Nominations will reopen in January 2022.

2021 Teacher of the Year!

Brooke Brown
English Language Arts and Ethnic Studies
Washington High School
Franklin Pierce School District

Teachers of the Year Release Annual Collection of Stories

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.

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, and a mock keynote 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 and effective way.

When is the Teacher of the Year selected?

The Teacher of the Year is selected in early September. Regional finalists attend a day of interviews followed by a weekend leadership retreat in Olympia. The State Superintendent announces the Teacher of the Year the following Monday during an annual award ceremony.

How do I nominate a teacher?

Nominate your teacher online using the Educator Award Nomination Form. Nominations are open through March 1.

What happens after I nominate a teacher?

OSPI sends your nominee, their principal/supervisor, and their regional coordinator a copy of the nomination and a link to the online application.

What do the State and Regional Teachers of the Year do?

  • Attend the selection, a leadership retreat, and continuing professional development throughout the year.
  • Complete a collection of teacher tales to be shared with the public.
  • Travel (when permitted) the state and their regions to share their expertise with community groups, businesses, government officials and current and future teachers.
  • Identify and advocate for educational issues of particular interest to them.
  • Receive small cash awards and additional prizes in recognition of their achievements.

What does the State Teacher of the Year do?

  • Represent 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.
  • Serve as the Teacher-in-Residence for Washington's Teacher of the Year program January - June.
  • Respond to and fulfill Teacher of the Year speaking requests, presentations, etc.
  • Collaborate with the Washington Teacher Advisory Council (WATAC) leadership team to engage with alumni award winners.
  • Identify statewide issues of interest to them and carry out a project aligned with those issues.
  • Design and carry out a personal communication plan to include a social media and web presence, traditional media strategy, and other publications.
  • Network with teacher preparation programs and other educational stakeholder groups across the state.