Application and Selection Process
Eligible Kentucky public school teachers can apply for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award. Information on the application procedure, applicant qualifications, award selection criteria and program timeline are included on this page.
A Kentucky Teacher of the Year (KYTOY) candidate must be an exceptionally dedicated and skilled teacher at a Kentucky public school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, who is planning to continue in an active teacher status for the 2023-2024 school year. Candidates must have at least three years of teaching service and currently spend at least 75% of instructional time directly in front of Kentucky students at the time of application submission to be eligible.
The KYTOY candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:
- Is an expert in their field who advances growth for students of all backgrounds and abilities;
- Builds collaborative relationships with colleagues, students and families to create a school culture of equity and success;
- Deliberately connects the classroom to the community to impact student growth and learning;
- Is a lifelong learner and teacher leader, uses innovative learning experiences in and out of the classroom; and
- Expresses themselves in an engaging and clear way that conveys the lived classroom experience to a variety of audiences.
Additionally, candidates should be willing to fulfill the KYTOY duties and represent Kentucky teachers through the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program. The overall Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be invited to take a six-month sabbatical release with KDE during the term year.
Teachers who have been recognized as a Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winner at least twice over the past five years are ineligible to apply.
Selection Criteria and Process
The Kentucky Teacher of the Year is selected through a three-tiered process that includes (1) application judging; (2) oral interview; and (3) classroom teaching.
The top eight candidates in each teaching band (elementary, middle and high school) will be named the 2024 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winners.
The top three candidates in each teaching band will advance as semifinalists for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award. The finalists in each teaching band and the overall winner will be announced at a special recognition ceremony in Frankfort in the fall of 2023.
A blue ribbon panel of veteran educators from around the state will evaluate applicant's teaching philosophies, teaching experiences and student engagement, involvement in their respective communities and letters of recommendation.