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At Educate Maine, we believe the classroom teacher is the backbone of the American educational system, and our Maine Teacher of the Year (MTOY) program honors their contributions. Our County and State Teachers of the Year serve as exemplars of the teaching profession, and advocates for quality education of Maine students.

Selecting a Teacher of the Year is meant to celebrate the thousands of outstanding professional educators in Maine schools, not to single out any individual as the best teacher in Maine. We believe teacher recognition is integral to any teacher accountability system.

Our objectives are to:

  1. Recognize and honor the contributions of Maine’s public classroom teachers (PK-12, Career and Technical Education, Special Education, Specialists);
  2. Showcase Maine’s teachers and the profession;
  3. Create greater public awareness of Maine’s exceptional teachers and the profession;
  4. Encourage participation in the MTOY process;
  5. Inspire and motivate future and current teachers;
  6. Enhance the personal and professional development of the teacher candidates.  

What do we look for in Maine Teachers of the Year?

  1. A commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students; and
  2. Exemplary skills that are recognized by students, colleagues, parents, and all other members of your school’s community. 

To be eligible for nomination, a teacher must hold at least a four-year degree and be employed at least 50% of full-time by a Maine public school (including a public charter school), or a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60% or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as "the academies").


Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of of the Maine Department of Education and is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization working to advance educational attainment and readiness for work among all Mainers. It is made possible by the support of the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association, and funding by our longtime sponsors: Bangor Savings Bank (Lead), Dead River, Geiger and Hannaford.

MTOY is affiliated with the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program, established in 1952, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The NTOY is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a National Selection Committee representing the major national education organizations. Each April, the NTOY is introduced to the American people by the President of the United States. Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.


To be considered for the County and Maine Teacher of the Year award, a person must:

  • Hold at least a four-year college degree;
  • Be employed by a Maine public school, including a public charter school, or a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60 percent or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as "the academies" or "the Big 11"); and
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of full-time at the time of nomination.

The candidate should:

  • Be exceptionally skilled, dedicated, and knowledgeable;
  • Be committed to quality education;
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;
  • Have the respect of students, parents, and colleagues;
  • Play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school;
  • Be an articulate spokesperson who can communicate the issues and concerns of the classroom teacher to a wide variety of audiences, especially to other teachers;
  • Possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule;
  • Be aware and informed of current educational reform issues; and
  • Be prepared to spend up to 40 days away from the classroom in public speaking and other activities if selected as the Maine Teacher of the Year. (County TOYs may have to spend 3-5 days away.)

Who can nominate a Teacher of the Year?

Teachers can be nominated by a student or parent, co-worker or administrator, school or district committee, friend or family member. To be considered for the award and continue on with the TOY process, teacher candidates must submit written material to a Review Panel.


Teachers are initially nominated to be the current year County Teachers of the Year; the Maine Teacher of the Year for the following year is selected from among the County Teachers of the Year in a rigorous ten-month process. This process is designed by teachers to ensure candidates an opportunity to reflect on their instructional practices.

Teachers considering participation should click here for a detailed timeline, requirements and support resources.

  • Jan-Feb: Nominating period for County Teachers of the Year
  • March: County Semi-finalists selected
  • April: County Finalists selected
  • May: County Teachers of the Year announced
  • June: State Semi-Finalists announced (no more than 8)
  • August: State Finalists announced (no more than 3)
  • September: School visits and interviews
  • October: Maine Teacher of the Year announced; portfolio due from candidates for National Teacher of the Year
  • January 1: Maine Teacher of the Year begins service

Who selects the Teachers of the Year?

County TOYS are selected by a panel of the following ten representatives:

  1. County Teachers of the Year
  2. MTOY (or finalist)
  3. Teacher
  4. School Administrator
  5. School Administrator
  6. Business (Chamber)
  7. Business (Chamber)
  8. Community
  9. Community (Parent)
  10. Open

Statewide TOY selectors include representatives of the following:

  1. Department of Education
  2. Maine Teacher of the Year
  3. State Board of Education
  4. Business
  5. School Administrator
  6. Educate Maine Board Member
  7. At Large member