The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers, identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.
Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year. From that group, a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent millions of educators, selects four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year based on a set of criteria.
The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 as a means of recognizing outstanding teachers. The Nebraska Teacher of the Year Program has been in place since 1972 and affords an opportunity to honor dedicated teachers for excellence in classroom teaching. The Nebraska Department of Education coordinates events surrounding Teacher of the Year activities, working with the Nebraska State Education Association, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Nebraska Council of School Administrators, and Nebraska Parent-Teacher Association.
The Nebraska Awards of Excellence Program, which features selection of the Nebraska Teacher of the Year, serves to recognize the contributions of the classroom teacher. The Nebraska Teacher of the Year candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:
- Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence;
- Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success;
- Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large;
- Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning; and,
- Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.
The Nebraska Application Review Committee examines all Part A and Part B applications submitted and selects up to five finalists (Award of Excellence Teachers). Each of the Award of Excellence Teacher will be interviewed to determine the Nebraska Teacher of the Year, who will be eligible for consideration as the National Teacher of the Year. Only completed applications will be considered.
Certified teachers, who plan to continue in an active teacher status in any state-approved or accredited school pre-kindergarten through grade 12, may be nominated. Supervisory and administrative responsibilities are secondary considerations.
Whether nominated by someone else or applying directly for the honor, each candidate must personally complete the application form. All answers must be in the teacher’s own words.
Those individuals interested in nominating a teacher will complete and submit the nomination form. The teacher will then receive the Teacher of the Year application to be completed and submitted. Candidates do not need to be nominated to complete the application.
The Application Review Panel and the Interview Panel want to see the candidates teaching strategies and how he or she effectively communicates with students.
Teacher of the Year Application
|March 2023||Nomination forms and Application Part A and B packets available.
Part A – Candidate information, professional memberships, professional preparation and experience, authorizations, resume, letters of recommendation, and essay questions.
Part B – A written lesson plan.
|August 1, 2023||Deadline for receipt of Application – Part A and B packets. Submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. (Central Daylight Time).
Application Part A and Part B packets that are incomplete or do not comply with the format will be disqualified.
|August 2023||Application – Part A and B packets scored and finalists selected.|
|Late August 2023||Finalists interviewed in Lincoln, Nebraska.|
|September 2023||Announcement of Finalists.|
|September 2023||2024 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Announced.
Press release of 2024 finalists and Nebraska Teacher of the Year.
|December 2023||Awards Recognition Event.
Nebraska Teacher of the Year state obligations begin December 2023.
National Teacher of the Year obligations begin January 2023.
The Nebraska Teacher of the Year’s duties will be extensive. The selected candidate will maintain a regular teaching schedule while also fulfilling the duties of the Teacher of the Year position. Some highlights of the Nebraska Teacher of the Year may include:
Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Program as a representative of Nebraska (a year of professional learning through the National Teacher of the Year Program with a cohort of State Teachers of the Year from the 50 states, U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity);
Speaking at various engagements across the state – Administrators’ Days conference, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA) conference; Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) Delegate Assembly and others;
Participating in workshops and local school programs across the state;
Participating in the Council of Chief State School Officer (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program Induction at a location to be determined at this time (this conference is approximately one week);
Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Washington Recognition Week (this event is held in Washington, DC and includes a Recognition Ceremony for the National Teacher of the Year (this event is approximately one week);
Participating in International Space Camp in Huntsville, AL (this event is approximately one week);
Participating in the ECS National Forum on Education Policy at a location to be determined at this time (this event is approximately three days); and
Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Program Next Steps Conference in Princeton, NJ (this event is approximately one week).
For additional information, please contact:
Public Information & Communications
Department of Education
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
Telephone: (402) 471-4537