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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, SpecialEducation, Adult Education, and Specialists);
  2. Elevate the impact of Maine's educators, the importance of the profession, and inspire future and current teachers;
  3. Create greater public awareness of Maine’s extraordinary teachers and showcase the great things happening in Maine schools;
  4. Build a network of teacher leaders, amplify the voice of educators, and enhance the personal and professional development of the teacher candidates; and
  5. Assist in ongoing efforts to grow, strengthen, and diversify Maine's educator workforce.

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. 



Maine Teacher of the Year is a program 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. The program is made possible with the support of our partners Maine State Board of Education and the Maine County and 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.  

Maine Teacher of the Year program (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. 

Meet the 2024 State Teachers of the Year!


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

  • Have a minimum of five years of teaching - three of which are in Maine;
  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position;
  • Be a certified in good standing, PK-12 teacher in a state-accredited public school, including a career and technical education and adult 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");
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of the workday at the time of nomination and during their year of recognition; and
  • Maintain their teaching position and remain in the County for which they are selected throughout the year of recognition.


The Maine Teacher of the Year candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:

  • Is an expert in their field who advances growth for students of all backgrounds and abilities;
  • Builds collaborative relationships with colleagues, students, and families to create a culture of equity and success;
  • Deliberately connects the classroom to the community to impact student growth and learning;
  • As a lifelong learner and teacher leader, they utilize innovation to create learning experiences within and beyond the classroom; and
  • Expresses themselves in an engaging and clear way, conveying the lived classroom experience to a variety of audiences.

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 role and continue on with the TOY process, teacher candidates must submit written application 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 review the candidate information page 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 4)
  • 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. Community 

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

  1. Department of Education
  2. Maine County and State 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