Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

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Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Educator Effectiveness & Licensure
Regulatory Authority
Response Required
Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Teachers

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Memo Text

The Division of Elementary & Secondary Education will begin accepting nominations for the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (ATOY) beginning March 15, 2021. Each public school district in Arkansas may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year and nominate that teacher for the ATOY. 

A selection panel assembled by DESE will review the applications and select 16 regional finalists, one representing each education service cooperative and one representing Pulaski County. The panel will select four state finalists from among the regional finalists. The panel will conduct site visits before selecting the ATOY. 


Candidates must meet the following minimum criteria: 

  • Candidates must be skillful and dedicated teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
  • The ATOY candidate must be engaged directly in instruction in a classroom setting for more than 70 percent of the individual's contracted time.
  • Instructional Facilitators must be engaged directly in instruction with students in a classroom setting for more than seventy percent (70%) of the individual’s contracted time
    to qualify.
  • Librarians and Guidance Counselors are eligible to participate in the ATOY.
  • Administrators are not eligible.

The ATOY will begin his or her duties on July 1, 2022 and will end his or her duties on June 30, 2023. Duties include the following:

  • Serving on paid administrative leave from his or her district to work with the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education.
  • Developing professional development and providing technical assistance to Arkansas teachers and students.
  • Serving as a non-voting member of the State Board of Education.
  • Serving as an ambassador for education in Arkansas 
  • Making appropriate public appearances across the state.
  • Representing Arkansas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Candidates nominated by their districts must complete an online application which is available at this link: 

The online application will require candidates to upload the following items:

  • *Candidacy Approval Form with all signatures (pdf format).
  • One resume no longer than two pages (pdf format).
  • Three letters of recommendation that support why the candidate should be the 2022 National Teacher of the Year. At least one of these must be a recommendation from a parent, colleague, or administrator, and each letter should not exceed one page in length (pdf format).
  • (Please note that the letters for the candidate who is selected as the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year will be submitted to the National Teacher of the Year program.)
  • One video that is three to five minutes in length. The first minute must showcase the candidate's story as an educator. The additional time must showcase the candidate's passion for education through one of three provided topics in the application. The videos must be recorded with no editing, within the required time, and uploaded into Google. The online application will require the candidate to submit the Google link to the video (Google link). 
  • Evidence of student growth-up to four documents, which should include a one-page typed explanation of the evidence (pdf format)
  • One portrait photograph of the candidate suitable for use in publicity activities (jpg format). Photo must not be copyrighted.
  • *Adult Release Form (pdf format). 

*Denotes the document is attached to this memo and found on the ATOY webpage. 


Timeline of ATOY selection and recognition process:


March 2021

Application Window Opens

May 2021

ATOY Application Support Zoom meeting on Tuesday, May 18, at 3:00 p.m. Webinar information will go out on social media and the ATOY webpage on May11th. .

June 11, 2021

Applications are due by NOON.

June 18, 2021

Applications go out to the selection panel for scoring

July 6-9, 2021

Regional Finalists will be notified

July 30, 2021

Finalist Recognition Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion

August 2021

Finalists Recognition at the Arkansas Travelers Game (tentative)

September 2021

The ATOY selection panel visits four finalists’ schools for classroom observations and interviews

November 2021

All Regional Finalists attend Teacher Leadership Training at ADE

December 2021

Announcement of 2022 ATOY will be made prior to this date

January 2022

2022 ATOY begins training for year of service

July 1, 2022

2022 ATOY begins year of service


REMINDER: The deadline to submit all materials is Friday, June 11, 2021 at noon. 


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