Arizona Spelling Bee 101

The Basics of the Bee

The Role of the Arizona Educational Foundation

aef bee logo.png

The Arizona Educational Foundation has been the sponsor of the Arizona Spelling Bee Program since 2001. Our role is to coordinate the highest level of competition in Arizona, the Arizona Spelling Bee, as well as to provide leadership and guidance to all cooperating schools, districts, and counties holding their own bees within the Arizona Spelling Bee Program.

You should know:

  • AEF is not a regulatory body and does not make any decisions or rulings on bees at the school, district, or county level. Official rules and procedures come from the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Scripps' rules allow every bee flexibility in how they operate their own bee. These can be viewed here:

  • If you have specific questions about a school, district, or county spelling bee rule or procedure, please reach out to the coordinator of that bee directly. Questions about the Arizona Spelling Bee can be directed to Dr. Teresa Hill,


The Arizona Spelling Bee Program is open to every Arizona student and school. Charter schools, private schools, and homeschools are welcome to participate along with traditional public schools.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee puts out eligibility requirements for all spellers, those can be found here: ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

You should know:

  • In order to compete a spellers school must be registered with Scripps. Multiple schools cannot share one registration.

  • Schools are responsible for reviewing the Scripps eligibility requirements and verifying their competitors meet the criteria.

The Structure of the Arizona Spelling Bee

School Level

Spelling bees begin when a school has identified their school spelling bee coordinator, and that coordinator has visited to register their school with Scripps. The first spelling bee a student will compete in is within their own classroom. Once Classroom Champions are determined, they compete in a school wide bee. The number of spellers moving forward to the next level is determined by coordinator of the next spelling bee. Note: Schools may establish their own rules and procedures for local spelling bees as long as they also comply with the Arizona Spelling Rules.

District Level

School Champions move on to compete against other school champions within their public school district, charter/private school networks, or homeschool organizations. These organizations identify their own coordinator to operate this bee. The coordinator should reach out to AEF to receive access to the "District Spelling Bee Pronouncer's Guide," which is typically released in early November. Note: Districts may establish their own rules and procedures for local spelling bees as long as they also comply with the Arizona Spelling Rules.

County Level

District champions and some school champions compete in a county spelling bee. Maricopa County is split in to six different regions due to it's high population. The term "regional spelling bee" is referring to Maricopa County Regions. Regional bees are the exact same level of competition as county spelling bees. Throughout this website the term "county bee" or "county coordinator" also refers to Maricopa County Regional bees. County bees are often coordinated by a county superintendent's office or school district. A list of county and Maricopa County Regional coordinators can be found in the "coordinators headquarters" page.

Arizona Spelling Bee

27 spellers from the county level move on to The Arizona Spelling Bee. This bee is coordinated by AEF and is the highest level of spelling bee competition within the State of Arizona. The Arizona Spelling Bee Champion goes on to represent the State of Arizona in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Important Variations in the Spelling Bee Structure

The Arizona Spelling Bee Program can sometimes vary for different schools in different parts of the state.

Some school champions skip the district bee level and go straight to the county spelling bee level. Those champions come from schools that meet any one of the follow qualifications:

  • The county coordinator has determined that a district spelling bee is not necessary for their bee. Check with your county coordinator for verification.

  • The school is independent and does not belong to a district, network, or educational organization.

  • The school does belong to a district, network, or educational organization, however the school is the sole school from that district participating in the spelling bee.

  • The school does belong to a district, network, or educational organization, however all schools participating in the spelling bee within that district are located in different counties or Maricopa County Regions.

Get Registered!


If your school is ready to participate then your first step is to identify a spelling bee coordinator for your school. This person should visit and register your school with Scripps. When your registration is complete (that includes sending your payment to Scripps) then you will gain access to an online login at where you can access all study materials, spelling bee pronouncer guides, and other materials necessary to hold your school spelling bee.

Important note: Please do not send registration payment to AEF. AEF does not have any control over the registration fees charged by Scripps. Scripps does not accept purchase orders.

School, district, and county bee coordinators should click below to access the coordinator headquarters for even more information!