CT Teacher of the Year Process

The Commissioner of Education sends Teacher of the Year applications to every district superintendent in the spring and encourages them to participate in the recognition program.  The Teacher of the Year Program seeks to recognize exemplary teachers and does not try to identify the “best” teacher in the state.

District teams identify one exemplary teacher from within their teaching populations.  Each district nominee completes the state application in the ensuing months and submits it to the State Department of Education.  Applications are distributed to members of a reading committee, and the results are tabulated to identify approximately fifteen semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists are invited to an interview with the Selection Committee at which they present a prepared presentation and respond to several questions related to education issues and current trends.  Four finalists are chosen from among the semi-finalists.

A committee of 12-18 people travels to each of the finalists’ schools to observe the teachers in action and to interview teams of parents, teachers, support staff, students, administrators, and Board members.  Committee members appreciate the opportunity to observe the finalists as they teach in their classrooms, learning first-hand why each school community holds them in such esteem.

Following the site visits, the selection committee travels to a neutral site where they deliberate and vote to determine who will emerge as the next Connecticut Teacher of the Year.  The State Department of Education Public Relations Department works in conjunction with the CT TOY Council to coordinate a press conference at the school of the newly selected Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year and nominees from each district are recognized and honored at a large public ceremony each November.

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year participates in several national forums, giving input to educational leaders and offering recommendations for improving the teaching and learning process, while developing a network with other exemplary teacher leaders around the country.


Timeline for the 2017 Teacher of the Year Program

  • April 2016: Letter from Commissioner sent to Superintendents of Schools.
  • Spring/Summer 2016: All District Teachers of the Year register online to participate in Awards Ceremony at The Bushnell. District Teachers of the Year prepare online application.
  • August 3, 2016: Application due to Connecticut State Department of Education by 11:59 p.m.
  • August 10 – August 26, 2016: Selection Committee screens application.
  • September 15 and 16, 2016: Semifinalists interviewed at the Legislative Office Building.
  • September 16, 2016: All semifinalists notified if selected as finalist. Finalists provided with school visit dates and procedures.
  • September 26 and 27, 2016: Site visits at finalists’ schools.
  • Early October TBD, 2016: Finalists notified if selected as 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year.
  • Early October TBD, 2016: Commissioner announces the 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year at a press conference at the teacher’s school.
  • November 1, 2016: National Teacher of the Year application due to National Teacher of the Year office, Washington, DC.
  • November 10, 2016: Awards Ceremony at The Bushnell to honor each district Teacher of the Year and the 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year.
  • November 2016 – November 2017: 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year and finalists make public appearances.

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