The mission of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Program is to recognize teachers of excellence and connect them with a network of other equally inspirational and innovative educators. By recognizing those teachers who bring honor to their profession, the West Virginia program hopes to energize students, enhance community respect for learning, and revitalize teachers across the state.
West Virginia has long been recognized as one of the states with the oldest and most consistent Teacher of the Year programs in the nation. This prestigious, national program is an initiative of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation that places emphasis on excellence in teaching and teacher recognition.
The West Virginia Department of Education strongly encourages each superintendent to nominate one outstanding teacher for the 2025 West Virginia Teacher of the Year Program. County nominations of teachers intending to retire, or teachers who will not be in the classroom actively teaching in the 2024-2025 school year will be recognized at the state level, but they are not eligible to be named the 2025 West Virginia Teacher of the Year or a finalist.
The intent of the Teacher of the Year program is to help communicate the excellence of teaching to the public. The selected teacher will be requested to maintain a relationship with the West Virginia Department of Education for one year. During that time, the teacher will have the opportunity to give lectures, provide consultations, and participate in other activities with the department. It is expected that the selected teacher will be released from teaching responsibility by the local board of education on these occasions, but will continue as an employee of the school and the county school district. The West Virginia Department of Education will provide travel and lodging expenses for activities required of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year.
It is anticipated that the other county nominees, who have been selected at the county level, will serve as educational resources for local education agencies.
The principal purpose for collecting this information is to provide the data necessary to make determinations of qualifications for Teacher of the Year. This information may be shared with local, state, and national education agencies for lawful purposes as acknowledged by signing and submitting the acknowledgement form.
Each year the State of West Virginia identifies an outstanding teacher to be the West Virginia Teacher of the Year and to be the state nominee for National Teacher of the Year Program. Please read the following information carefully and be sure that you are eligible for consideration.
The candidate should be an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher in any state-approved or accredited school pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, who is planning to continue in an active teaching status the following year of application. (Supervisory and administrative responsibilities should be of secondary consideration). This opportunity is open to early childhood, middle, high, and adolescent level teachers of all subject areas.
The teacher must:
- hold professional certification in area(s) of assignment;
- be a current full-time classroom teacher as defined by a teaching contract;
- have completed the past three years as a full-time classroom teacher in West Virginia; and
- have verification of eligibility and consent to participate
- In the event that you currently have or have had approved leave in the past three years which did not constitute a break in service, you are eligible to apply.
- County nominations of teachers intending to retire at the end of the same school year in which they were nominated will be recognized at the state level, but they are not eligible to be named the West Virginia Teacher of the Year or a finalist.
The teacher should:
- inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;
- have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues;
- play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school; and
- be poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.
The criteria for a National Teacher of the Year Candidate are as follows:
The National Teacher of the Year candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and
- is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence;
- collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success;
- deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large;
- demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning; and
- expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.