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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 and elevates the voice of the classroom teacher. Our County and State Teachers of the Year serve as ambassadors 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 an accelerant to change.

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 the great work of Maine’s teachers and the importance of the profession;
  3. Create greater public awareness of Maine’s exceptional teachers and the profession;
  4. Build a network of teacher leaders and elevate the voice of the classroom teacher;
  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 the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position and be teaching students at least 50% of full-time in 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 "town 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 with the support of the our partners 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, Hannaford, the Silvernail family, Maine State Lottery and Unum.  

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 National Teacher of the Year Award Program was initiated in 1952 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to bring recognition to the importance of teachers as nurturers of the "American Dream."  His intention to honor all teachers by the selection of a representative teacher from each state would find completion in the yearly choice of a National Teacher of the Year.  Through an organized and varied selection process involving classroom teachers, school administrators, state officials, students, parents, and business representatives, each state and U. S. Protectorate nominates its own Teacher of the Year.

The NTOY is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a National Selection Committee representing the major national education organizations. Each year, the NTOY is introduced to the American people by the President of the United States. 


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

  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position;
  • Be employed by a Maine public school, including a career and technical education center, 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 "town academies"); and
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of full-time at the time of nomination and during their year of recognition.
  • Maintain their teaching position throughout the year of recognition
  • Have been teaching a minimum of five years - three of which are in Maine.

To be considered, teachers will:

  • Instill in students a desire to learn and achieve
  • Foster cooperative relationships with their colleagues and the community
  • Have the respect and admiration of their colleagues
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of subject matter and the ability to share it effectively with students
  • Demonstrate outstanding leadership
  • Collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success
  • Be an effective and engaging communicator 
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
  • Be willing and 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 community 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 - one of whom is selected as Maine Teacher of the Year for the following year. This is a rigorous process, designed by teachers, to provide 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
  • 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 the "year of recognition"

Who selects the Teachers of the Year?

County Teachers of the Year are selected by a panel representing the following stakeholder groups:

  1. County Teachers of the Year
  2. MTOY (or finalist)
  3. School Administrators
  4. Business/Sponsor/Funder
  5. Higher Education
  6. Community (Parent)

The State Teacher of the Year is selected by representatives of the following stakeholder groups:

  1. Department of Education
  2. Maine Teacher of the Year Association
  3. State Board of Education
  4. Business/Sponsor/Funder
  5. School Administrator
  6. Educate Maine Board Member
  7. Higher Education