Nomination Process

The purpose of the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year program is to celebrate excellence in teaching, honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the young people of Pennsylvania, and select a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year award.

  • Possess a valid Pennsylvania Instructional II certificate;
  • Be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled pre-kindergarten through grade twelve teachers in any public school in Pennsylvania;
  • Plan to continue in an active teaching status through the current school year;
  • Incorporate effective and innovative instructional strategies, particularly elements of the Standards Aligned Systems (SAS);
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds to learn;
  • Have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues;
  • Play an active role in the school and community;
  • Be poised, articulate, and have good communication skills.


Being a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and nominee for the National Teacher of the Year is a great honor and responsibility. Regional finalists for Teacher of the Year and the national nominee, in particular, will be asked to participate in a variety of activities, such as serving on Pennsylvania Department of Education committees and making presentations to various groups. The national nominee will also be invited to participate in state nominee  activities. Districts will be expected to provide substitute teachers for the teachers to participate in a reasonable number of activities as regional finalists and Teacher of the Year. Regional finalists and the Teacher of the Year will return to the annual Pennsylvania  Teacher of the Year Educational Forum the following year to present best practices and  participate in professional development sessions. The National Teacher of the Year is  released from classroom duties for a year to serve as a spokesperson and advocate for the  teaching profession.


Any parent, community member, student, or educator can nominate an individual who meets the criteria in the section above to be a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Nominees must complete the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year application form for consideration. Applications are due December 15.

The selection committee of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, with the guidance and assistance of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will review and score the nomination packets to select the semi-finalists and regional finalists from each of the state’s four regions.

The Teacher of the Year selection process is rigorous. Scoring criteria incorporate the components of the SAS to validate a candidate’s instructional methods in the classroom and ability to communicate educational philosophies and issues to a wide audience. For more information on Standards Aligned Systems (SAS), visit