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TIMELINE & INFORMATION

JANUARY – MAY 20th

Nominations Accepted

 

JUNE 

Applications Due

JULY

Quarterfinal Round

AUGUST
Finalists & Semifinalists Announced

 

OCTOBER

Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards 

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AZ TEACHER OF THE YEAR ELIGIBILITY

Any full-time certified teacher working in Arizona at a state-accredited public school or school operating under the Bureau of Indian Education is eligible to apply.

 

Additionally, applicants must:

 

  1. Be a full-time certified teacher who intends to continue in an active teaching status through school year 2024-2025. What does “active teaching status” and “full-time” mean? “Active teaching status” means the teacher is planning to continue teaching (e.g. not retiring or moving into an administrative position in the next year). “Full-time” means the teacher spends the majority (over 75%) of their teaching assignment providing meaningful instruction to students (as opposed to primarily coaching teachers or similar activities). There may be some positions where the candidate is still identified as a teacher by their district (e.g. if they are a teacher leader, doing instructional coaching, etc.). In this instance, the individual would need to be on a teacher contract and meet the requirement of spending the majority of their teaching assignment (over 75%) providing meaningful instruction students. Applicants are encouraged to contact Kim Graham at kim@azedfoundation.org to seek clarification if needed.

  2. Teach any grade Pre-K-12th (or combination) in Arizona. Teachers may work in any content area, including Special Education, P.E., the Arts, etc.

  3. Have completed at least six (6) full years as a fully certified classroom teacher at the time the application is submitted with the most recent three years in Arizona. Years of student teaching, internships, or apprenticeships do not count toward the 6 year requirement.

  4. Not have been selected as an AEF™ Teacher of the Year, Semifinalist or Ambassador for Excellence in the past.

  5. Be available to fulfill ambassadorial duties during the year of recognition and be supported by their employer.

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ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR PRIZE PACKAGE*

Additionally, through the generosity of our donors, AEF is able to provide the following* for the top 10 nominated Teachers:

 

FOR THE ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR

  • $15,000 cash

  • Arizona’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year

  • Travel to Washington D.C. to meet the President of the United States (pending each administration)

  • Travel to International Space Camp in Huntsville, AL

  • Travel to the National Teacher of the Year Program Induction**

  • Considered to receive Honorary Doctorate from NAU College of Education

  • Opportunity to throw out the first pitch at an Arizona Diamondbacks home game

  • Opportunity to tour the Boeing Apache Manufacturing Facility in Mesa accompanied by their school principal and district superintendent.

  • "Fiesta Bowl Experience Package" provided by Fiesta Bowl Charities; includes special dinner, travel accommodations, Bowl tickets, and on-field recognition at the Fiesta Bowl

  • Honored in the Fiesta Bowl Parade on the APS fire engine

  • AZ K12 Center Scholarship to pursue National Board Certification; National Board Pre-Candidacy Class; Five (5) AZK12 Coaching Saturdays;  and complimentary registration to the annual Teacher Leadership Institute

  • Professional speech and media training led by Heidi Vega (ASBA) and Andrew Morrill (WestED)

  • Complimentary field trip for students including admission AND transportation; also includes a complimentary "Arts Immersions Virtual Reality field trip" for students courtesy of Act One.

  • One-year membership to Treasures 4 Teachers

  • $100 gift card from V.I.P. Mortgage

  • $50 gift card from Sprouts

  • iPad and case from Desert Financial

  • Complimentary Estate Planning Package from Desert Financial

  • $100 Gift Card from Changing Hands Bookstore

 

FOR THE FOUR AMBASSADORS FOR EXCELLENCE

  • $5,000 cash

  • Opportunity to tour the Boeing Apache Manufacturing Facility in Mesa accompanied by their school principal and district superintendent.

  • "Fiesta Bowl Experience Package" provided by Fiesta Bowl Charities; includes special dinner, travel accommodations, Bowl tickets, and on-field recognition at the Fiesta Bowl

  • Honored in the Fiesta Bowl Parade on the APS fire engine

  • Complimentary field trip for students including admission AND transportation; also includes a complimentary "Arts Immersions Virtual Reality field trip" for students courtesy of Act One.

  • AZ K12 Center Scholarship to pursue National Board Certification; National Board Pre-Candidacy Class; Five (5) AZK12 Coaching Saturdays;  and complimentary registration to the annual Teacher Leadership Institute

  • Professional speech and media training led by Heidi Vega (ASBA) and Andrew Morrill (WestEd)

  • One-year membership to Treasures 4 Teachers

  • $100 gift card from V.I.P. Mortgage

  • $50 gift card from Sprouts

  • iPad and case from Desert Financial

  • Complimentary Estate Planning Package from Desert Financial

 

FOR THE FIVE SEMI-FINALISTS

  • $1,000 cash

  • Opportunity to tour the Boeing Apache Manufacturing Facility in Mesa accompanied by their school principal and district superintendent.

  • "Fiesta Bowl Experience Package" provided by Fiesta Bowl Charities; includes special dinner, travel accommodations, Bowl tickets, and on-field recognition at the Fiesta Bowl

  • Honored in the Fiesta Bowl Parade on the APS fire engine

  • Complimentary field trip for students including admission AND transportation; also includes a complimentary "Arts Immersions Virtual Reality field trip" for students courtesy of Act One.

  • Complimentary registration to the AZK12 Center's annual Teacher Leadership Institute

  • One-year membership to Treasures 4 Teachers

  • $100 gift card from V.I.P. Mortgage

  • $50 gift card from Sprouts

  • iPad and case from Desert Financial

 

*Awards are dependent on funding and donor participation and are subject to change each year without notice.

**The National Teacher of the Year program is the oldest and most prestigious honors program to focus public attention on excellence in teaching. It is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with Voya Foundation.

ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR EXPECTATIONS

STEP 1 - NOMINATIONS

Teachers may be nominated by an administrator (district and/or school level), student, parent, colleague, or may self-nominate. Any teacher receiving any number of nominations (even just one) is provided a link to the online Arizona Teacher of the Year application. The number of nominations a teacher receives does not impact their chances of being selected. The Arizona Teacher of the Year is identified based on information the teacher-applicant provides, not the person nominating. Nomination is simply the entry point into the process and bears no weight on whether or not a teacher will move forward in the process. Additionally, the selection committee is not provided with information on who nominated a teacher in order to prevent any outside influence on the process.

STEP 2 - WRITING THE APPLICATION -

Once nominated, teachers are provided a link to the online Teacher of the Year application. Teachers have until the specified deadline to submit the online application. Included with the application, teachers will also upload three letters of recommendation and a current resume. The Arizona Teacher of the Year selection panel reviews written applications and narrows them down to the top ten highest rated teachers for that year. The top ten teachers are notified and invited to participate in an in-person interview. Teachers not selected for that year, are encouraged to try again! NOTE: Using ChatGPT or any other AI-powered language platform to write the application is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate disqualification.

 

STEP 3 - QUARTER-FINAL ROUND -

Once the selection committee has read and scored each application, their collective scores yield rankings. The top fifteen teachers with the highest ranked applications are considered "Quarter-finalists." Each Quarter-finalists is asked to submit a video response to a specific prompt. The selection committee then watches and scores each video. The ten Quarter-finalists with the highest ranked video are then named "Semifinalists" and become part of the Top Ten Arizona Teachers of the Year. The five Quarter-finalists not moving forward are given "Honorable Mentions." All fifteen are celebrated at the annual Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony. Quarter-finalists receive an automatic nomination to apply again next year, as long as they still meet eligibility criteria. The ten Semifinalists then move on to the next round.

 

STEP 4 - SEMI-FINAL ROUND

If selected as one of the Top Ten, teachers move into the next stage of the process as "Semifinalists." All ten will attend an in-person interview to meet and interact with the Arizona Teacher of the Year selection panel. During interviews, Semifinalists will also be asked to deliver an impromptu speech and provide a video teaching demonstration. Results from in-person interviews determine which five teachers will move on as "Finalists" who are named "Ambassadors for Excellence," and which five will remain Semifinalists. All ten will be celebrated at the Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards and all ten receive a generous prize package provided by AEF partners. The five Ambassadors, considered finalists, are all under consideration for the Arizona Teacher of the Year title, which is announced live onstage during the Awards ceremony. 

 

STEP 5 - FINALIST ROUND

All five Ambassadors next engage in an observation process as AEF continues to vet their candidacy. AEF sends a professional videographer to each Ambassador's campus who films them teaching a lesson and in a one-on-one interview. During the Finalist round, AEF engages with Ambassadors through various forms of communication and Ambassadors participate in professional Speech and Media training. Those interactions influence which of the five Ambassadors will ultimately receive top honors at the Teacher of the Year.

STEP 6 - WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CEREMONY - YEAR OF RECOGNITION

Due to the generosity of our amazing sponsors and partners, all ten teachers will be beneficiaries of various opportunities throughout the year. The individual ultimately named "Teacher of the Year" and the four Ambassadors engage in a "year of recognition"with AEF. This year may include public appearances, speaking engagements, providing professional development, and serving on policy committees and task forces. The individual named Arizona Teacher of the Year will have additional opportunities and responsibilities, both in Arizona and outside of the state as part of the National Teacher of the Year program. 

 

STEP 7 - YEAR OF SERVICE

Following their year of recognition, Teachers of the Year and Ambassadors are encouraged to remain active in a "year of service" as participants in AEF's work by serving on the Teacher of the Year selection panel; serving as a judge for the A+ Schools of Excellence program; and participating in the Arizona Chapter of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.

ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR® | AEF® STAFF CONTACT

Kim Graham, AEF® Executive Director | 480-421-9376 | kim@azedfoundation.org

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