Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education 2025 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Application

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Memo Date
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Educator Effectiveness & Licensure
Regulatory Authority
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Assistant Principal; Assistant Superintendent; Communications Manager / Director; Principals; Superintendents; Teachers

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The Arkansas Department of Education is accepting applications for the 2025 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (ATOY) program. 

Each public school district in Arkansas may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year (DTOY) and nominate that teacher for the ATOY program. As required by Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-17-2501 et seq., the ATOY will be selected from among District Teachers of the Year. Sixteen regional finalists, one from each education service cooperative and one from Pulaski County, will be named. From the regional finalists, state semi-finalists will be selected, and a recommendation for the winner will be made to the ADE secretary. 

The 2025 ATOY will then be eligible for the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program. The National Teacher of the Year program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, began in 1952. As part of the NTOY program, the Arkansas Teacher of Year program promotes the teaching profession and identifies and recognizes teachers in elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools who exemplify excellence both inside and outside the classroom.

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.
  • 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, 2025, and will end his or her duties on June 30, 2026. Duties include the following:

  • Serving on paid administrative leave from his or her district to work with the Arkansas Department of Education.
  • Developing professional development and providing technical assistance to Arkansas teachers and students. 
  • 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 the online application at the following link by noon June 3, 2024: 2025 ATOY Application. Please see the attached guidelines document for more instructions.

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