Teacher of Year

Charter School Teacher of the Year

  • 2008 Freida Baker
  • 2009 John Hall
  • 2010 Stuart Miles
  • 2011 Regina Johnston
  • 2012 Jennifer Clayton
  • 2013 Jan Adams
  • 2014 Chris Weaver
  • 2015 Elizabeth Padgett
  • 2016 Brandon Brown
  • 2017 Deborah Brown


The mission of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teaching professionals implementing best practices within classrooms across North Carolina.

Program Goals

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


For more than 40 years our nation has honored teachers with the National Teacher of the Year Program. The National Teacher of the Year Program, presented by the ING Foundation, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Since 1970, North Carolina has participated in this program recognizing outstanding teachers.

In accordance with national guidelines, North Carolina chooses a candidate who is "dedicated and highly skilled, a candidate proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn." Because the Teacher of the Year will be asked to travel, speak on behalf of education and demonstrate master teaching skills, the candidate must be poised, articulate, and energetic in order to meet the demanding responsibilities. The individual selected as the State Teacher of the Year is given the year off from the classroom to serve as an ambassador for public schools and the teaching profession. He/She also advises the State Board of Education and actively works to bridge the gap between the business and educational communities.

The program recognizes teachers at the school, local, regional and statewide levels. Individuals who are chosen to represent their school as Teacher of the Year advance to competition at the local school system level. Once that selection has been made, LEA Teachers of the year and representatives of the public Charter Schools vie for the regional Teacher of the Year in the nine educational regions of the state. Using a regional process including a portfolio, interviews, a formal speech, and group activity, the statewide Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the nine regional winners by a selection committee consisting of professional educators and community leaders. The eight regional winners, along with the state Teacher of the Year, comprise the Teacher of the year Team and work collaboratively on issues critical to education in North Carolina. The regional Teachers of the Year also assist in planning and implementing a Teacher of the Year Symposium/Celebration. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, along with its corporate sponsor, The North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, administers the program.

In the 35 years of the program in North Carolina, three state Teachers of the Year have become National Winners. Three have become National Finalists and one has been inducted into the National Teachers' Hall of Fame. Twelve North Carolina Teachers of the Year have taught at the elementary school level, five at the middle or junior high school level and eighteen at the high school level.