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About Teacher of the Year

The Oregon Teacher of the Year program started in 1955 when elementary school teacher Margaret (Perry) Teufel of Monmouth Elementary School won the honor. Every year since then, each of the 50 states, U.S. territories, DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity names a teacher of the year, culminating in the award of a National Teacher of the Year.

Beginning in 2018-19, the Oregon Teacher of the Year program expanded to celebrate exemplary educators in every region of the state. Outstanding teachers are honored in up to 19 Education Service District regions in Oregon and these regional winners proceed to the consideration for Oregon Teacher of the Year. Watch this video to learn more about the Oregon Teacher of the Year expansion.

Candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year should be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled licensed public school educators in grades preK – 12 (administrative responsibilities should be of secondary consideration). The candidate should be planning to continue in active teaching status for the subsequent academic year.

In addition, candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year should:

  • Be an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
  • Deliberately connect the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong sense of community.
  • Demonstrate leadership and innovation that embodies lifelong learning inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Express themselves in an engaging and articulate way.

Why It’s Important

The Oregon Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors teacher excellence, with the Teacher of the Year serving as the face and voice of exemplary educators across the state. As a representative of the profession, this teacher leader is asked to engage and inspire other teachers and community leaders. Among other activities of their choice, they present at workshops; speak at education conferences; address student, civic, higher education, and governmental groups; participate in professional development at local, state, and national levels; and operate special programs in accordance with their interests and expertise. Publicly recognizing outstanding teachers encourages students to consider teaching as a career and provides the community with a sense of pride in the teachers making a positive impact on students’ lives every day.

Rewards

Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the Oregon Teacher of the Year receives a gift award of $5,000 as well as a special fund to cover travel costs for the year. In addition, a matching gift of $5,000 is awarded to the Teacher of the Year’s school. Gifts and recognition are also awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), founder of the National Teacher of the Year program. Finally finalists receive a $2,000 award and regional winners each receive $500 as part of the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery.

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