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

Teacher of the Year

Congratulations 2022 Teacher of the Year!

Jerad Koepp (Wukchumni)
Native Student Program Specialist
North Thurston Public Schools
Capital Region ESD 113

Contact Information

Education Awards


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.

Teacher of the Year nominations are now closed and will reopen in January 2023!

Frequently Asked Questions

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 embody lifelong learning.
  • The teacher expresses themselves in an engaging and effective way.

The Teacher of the Year is selected in early September. Regional finalists participate in interviews, a short keynote presentation, and a mock press interview followed by a weekend leadership retreat in Olympia. The State Superintendent announces the Teacher of the Year on the Monday after the leadership retreat during an annual award ceremony.

Nominate your teacher online using the Educator Award Nomination Form. Currently, the Teacher of the Year nominations are closed and will reopen in January 2023!

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.