North Dakota Teacher of the Year Application

The North Dakota Teacher of the Year Program celebrates the work of a classroom teacher in kindergarten through grade 12.  There are two awards for which a teacher may be eligible:

  • North Dakota Teacher of the Year (NDTOY)
  • National Teacher of the Year (NTOY)

Each applicant is considered for the state Teacher of the Year award. Candidates wishing to be considered for the award must fill out the entire application.

IMPORTANT: This application is used to select the NDTOY and NTOY. Each candidate must complete the electronic application and submit it to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) no later than June 15, 2019.

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.
  • A member of the North Dakota State Superintendent’s Teacher Cabinet, which will be formed in the summer of 2019.

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 through grade 12, and who 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 application packet

Applicants must submit their electronic* application online to the NDDPI by the deadline.

The following items must be submitted electronically* to NDDPI by the deadline:
 Section 1: Teacher Information
 Section 2: District Information
 Section 3: School Information
 Section 4: Resume
 Section 5: Professional Biography
 Section 6: Response Questions
 Section 7: Three Recommendation Letters
 Section 8: Demographic Information (will not be given to the selection committee)**

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 of 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. 

Selection Process and Timeline

All applications received by the deadline will go to the NDDPI selection panel for review. Scoring of each application will be based on this rubric. The selection panel will individually score each application. The top four (4) applications will become finalists. The four (4) finalists will be scheduled for interviews where the entire selection panel will ask questions about their teaching style and practices. The questions for this interview will NOT be given out ahead of time.

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:
    1. the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
    2. the NDTOY District Superintendent
    3. 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.


  • By a deadline established by your local school district - Complete any needed paperwork required by your district to apply for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year. The TOY must be approved by the District Superintendent.
  • June 15, 2019 - Each TOY submits an online application to the NDDPI. All applicants become candidates for the NDTOY award.
  • June 16 through August 2019 - NDDPI Team moves through its selection process for NDTOY.
  • No later than September 30, 2019 - 2020 NDTOY finalists and awardee are announced by the NDDPI.
  • October 31, 2019 - Application for the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) award is due. This is submitted by the NDDPI on behalf of the NDTOY.
  • December 2019 - Four NTOY finalists, their state superintendent, and state teams of the four states selected will be notified by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
  • February 2020 - The four NTOY finalists will be brought to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with the Selection Committee in a variety of situations, including individual interviews.
  • April/May 2020 - The 2020 National Teacher of the Year will be announced and honored in Washington, DC.
  • May/June 2020 - NDTOY recognized at Educator Recognition Event.

Submit your online application

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