NC Teacher of the Year Program Goals

Tab/Accordion Items

The goals of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program are:

  • To recognize and honor teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching
  • To recruit a quality and diverse cadre of teachers
  • To model best practices in teaching
  • To communicate and impact educational issues and policies
  • To build effective partnerships
  • To advance a communication network among teachers

Regional Teacher of the Year Honors

The Regional Teachers of the Year finalists are honored in April at the State Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony. State Regional Finalists also receive the following:

  • One-time stipend of $5000
  • Framed certificates and posters for display at school or classroom
  • A Mobile device from Lenovo
  • Opportunities to present and facilitate at local and state meetings/programs
  • Attendance at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) seminar
  • Opportunities to have direct communication between state education leaders and policymakers
  • Opportunities to promote the North Carolina Teacher of the Year network

State Teacher of the Year Honors

  • A one-year sabbatical to represent NC as a full-time ambassador for education as an Educator on Loan
  • One-time stipend of $7500
  • Appointment to the North Carolina State Board of Education for two years
  • International travel provided by Go Global NC
  • Appointment to education advisory committees and boards
  • Attendance at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) seminar
  • Appearances and participation in state-wide professional meetings and conferences
  • Nomination as North Carolina's candidate in the National Teacher of the Year Program
  • Attendance at the National Teacher of the Year Conference
  • Attend International Space Camp

*Honors subject to change based on corporate sponsorship levels and other potential budgetary restrictions.


Elizabeth Santamour, NC DPI’s Educator Recognition Coordinator:


To be eligible for selection as a Teacher of the Year, a person must hold a Standard Professional 2 (SP2) license, be employed full time and spend at least 70% of his or her time in direct instruction of North Carolina public school students. (North Carolina State Board of Education Policy, March 2008)

Month Local Process
May - August Teacher of the Year Nominations Submitted. Upon submission, Teacher of the Year Portfolio emailed to Public School Units (Districts and Charters) Teachers of the Year (copied to TOY Coordinators)
September Teachers of the Year submit the Teacher of the Year Portfolio to NC DPI’s Educator Recognition Coordinator. NOTE: Specific deadlines for submission will be shared with coordinators and PSU Teachers of the Year. Submissions must be sent electronically as one complete PDF document, including a copy of their current license. Portfolios received after submission deadlines will not be processed unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  Regional Process
September - October TOY portfolios are assessed and interviews are conducted. Six regional semi-finalists are selected
October - November Virtual interviews for six regional semi-finalists which leads to the selection of two regional finalists
 October - November On-site school visits are held for two regional finalists
 January NCDPI announces the Regional Teachers of the Year
  State Process
January - March Nine Regional TOYs participate in the state selection process
April State Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony (**winner remains confidential until announced at this event**)

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Educator Support Services Responsibilities of Regional Principals and Teachers of the Year

Advocacy and Outreach

  • Share knowledge of agency initiatives throughout your region
  • Employ innovative advocacy strategies with stakeholders in your region
  • Build a learning network in your region in collaboration with state agency leaders
  • Influence policies regionally and statewide
  • Participate in statewide conferences and events
  • Assist in planning and execution of future Principals/Teachers of the Year ceremonies
  • Use social media to help advance the goals of the state’s regional workgroups
  • Represent educators by serving on various boards and/or committees

Teacher/Principal Leadership

  • Support beginning teachers and new principals in their new roles
  • Share expertise with stakeholders from district/school perspectives
  • Model accomplished and distinguished classroom/school behavior
  • Strive to grow professionally

Regional Councils

  • Serve on the state’s Educator Quality Workgroups
  • Be prepared to communicate with teachers interested in employment in NC by region
  • Meet with key leaders in your region
  • Connect with former and current peers
  • Establish communication and feedback loops in your region

Other duties:

  • Work to grow sponsorship of NC’s recognition programs
  • Serve as an ambassador for NC’s leadership recognition programs at conferences and statewide meetings
  • Participate in professional development activities sponsored by NCDPI

*And other opportunities as assigned by the Educator Support Services Division at NCDPI.