The North Dakota Teacher of the Year Program celebrates the work of a classroom teacher in kindergarten through grade 12. 

Teacher of the Year Nominations

The nomination period for the North Dakota 2024 County Teachers of the Year is closed. 

Selection Process and Timeline

  • Any educator who holds a valid teaching license, serves in a role that requires a teaching license, and spends more than 50% of their time working directly with students is eligible to be nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award.
  • Nominations can be completed by any parent, staff/faculty member, administrator, or community member. Teachers may also nominate themselves. The nomination period opens in January and closes in February.
  • The North Dakota County Teachers of the Year will be announced by the end of the school year.
  • All selected County Teachers of the Year will have the opportunity to apply to be considered for North Dakota Teacher of the Year (applications will be made available by May of the current school year). 
  • Four North Dakota Teacher of the Year semi-finalists will be notified in June and will be asked to complete the next phase of the application process to qualify for the state Teacher of the Year. Semi-finalist interviews will be held in July or August. Applicants may be asked to travel to the Capitol to conduct an in-person interview and oral presentation for the selection of the North Dakota Teacher of the Year (virtual interviews may also be authorized). More specific information will be sent to the four finalists upon notification.
  • The North Dakota Teacher of the Year will be notified in August.

An announcement and celebration event for the Teacher of the Year will be completed before September 30, to allow time for the completion of the National Teacher of the Year application (due in October). The North Dakota Teacher of the Year's term runs from January through December of the following calendar year.

Duties & Responsibilities of the NDTOY

The Teacher of the Year will shoulder the significant responsibility of representing the teaching profession in North Dakota. The person who is chosen must maintain his/her current employment position. If the NDTOY is selected as the National Teacher of the Year, they will be released from classroom responsibilities during the year of national recognition.

The Teacher of the Year acts as:

  • A liaison between the teaching community, the North Dakota Legislature, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, schools, and communities;
  • An ambassador for education to businesses, parents, service organizations, and the media;
  • A resource on the state of the profession. The Teacher of the Year should be available for workshops and conferences around the state and nation;
  • An education leader who takes part in teacher forums and discussions about how to improve education.

North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Selection Criteria for NDTOY

A candidate for North Dakota Teacher of the Year (NDTOY) teaches kindergarten (or pre-school if operated by the school district) through grade 12 and is planning to continue as a teacher.

The candidate for NDTOY has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:

  1. Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities in their quest for excellence;
  2. Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success;
  3. Connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community,
  4. Demonstrates leadership, innovation, and lifelong learning skills in and outside of the classroom; and
  5. Presents themselves in an engaging and articulate way.

Contents of a complete NDTOY application packet (does not apply at the county level)

North Dakota Teacher of the Year applicants must submit their electronic application online to NDDPI by the deadline (to be determined) in June.*

Incomplete application packets and late submissions will not be considered. Sections that go over the maximum word/page requirement may lose points. Additional information will be requested from the NDTOY for the submission of the NTOY application. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will reach out for this information once the NDTOY is selected.

*If you or your district is unable to submit the application electronically, you must let the NDDPI TOY Coordinator know prior to the application deadline to make other arrangements.
**The NDTOY will be selected without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disabilities. 

NTOY Application and Necessary Approvals

If selected as the NDTOY, the following process and approvals are required for the NTOY application:

  1. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will reach out to the NDTOY to update any needed information for the NTOY application.
  2. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will complete the electronic NTOY for the NDTOY.
  3. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will send an acknowledgment and electronic signature request to:
    • the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
    • the NDTOY District Superintendent
    • the NDTOY Principal
  4. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will send a copy of the entire application packet for review by the NDTOY awardee. The NDTOY will need to thoroughly read and review the application. The NDDPI TOY Coordinator will make any revisions requested. Once the NDTOY has approved the final application packet, the NDTOY will electronically sign off.
  5. Once all necessary approvals have been received, the NDDPI TOY Coordinator will submit the NTOY application.

Questions? Contact the NDDPI TOY Coordinator at (701) 328-3216.