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Massachusetts Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program

Award to a Massachusetts Public School or Adult Learning
Teacher to Recognize Commitment to High-Quality Education

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

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Award to a Massachusetts full-time teacher in a public school or adult learning center to recognize exemplary teaching. The awardee will receive writing, public speaking, and traveling opportunities and will also serve as a liaison and ambassador for state teachers.

Beyond celebrating the individual, the program looks at the complex work that is involved in educating all students through highlighting student achievement, commitment to the profession, innovations in education, and teacher leadership. It draws attention to issues of teacher quality and reiterates the importance of the teacher as the single most important school-based factor in improving student outcomes.

The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year is an exemplary teacher who will serve as a liaison to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and as an ambassador to other teachers in the Commonwealth.

The Teacher of the Year must also demonstrate:

- A proven track record of meeting students' needs in order to further student growth and achievement.
- Instructional leadership in his/her classroom in addition to being a respected member of and contributor to the larger school and district community.
- Respect for and nuanced understanding of the different perspectives that contribute to high quality education--including those of colleagues, administration, parents, students, and policymakers.

Opportunities for the Teacher of the Year:

The Teacher of the Year (TOY) will have the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession, which will include public speaking and writing opportunities. This is a chance for the TOY to share ideas and to learn from others; it is not the expectation that the TOY speaks on behalf of all teachers. Rather, the TOY should reflect an understanding for the various perspectives that exists among teachers. The TOY maintains full time teaching responsibilities.

Contingent upon the National program and funding, along with the other states' teachers of the year, the MA TOY attends a 5-day National Teacher of the Year Conference, travels to Washington, DC for a week to participate in numerous recognition activities and meets the President, spends a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and after the TOYs official year ends, attends a "Next Steps" Conference in Princeton, NJ.

The Massachusetts TOY becomes the state's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program. The National Teacher of the Year spends a year out of the classroom traveling across, and out of, the country.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 141288

Number of Grants:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be eligible, teachers/co-teachers must:

- Have completed at least four years of teaching experience;
- Spend the majority of the school day in direct instruction of students;
- Possess an active and valid Massachusetts teaching license for the subject and grade level taught;
- Teach in a public school or Department approved adult learning center; and
- Be a full-time teacher.

Note: Co-teachers must teach in the same classroom at the same time and be responsible for the same students. Please see "General Application Instructions" in the attached document which explains how to submit an application for co-teachers.

Pre-Application Information:

DESE is accepting nominations for the 2020 Teacher of the Year through February 1, 2019.

Teacher of the Year Application Process
Round 1 — Preliminary Application (due Friday, February 15, 2019)
- Candidate information, four essays, principal's letter of support, photograph.
- Semi-finalists will be selected and notified by March 1, 2019.

Round 2 — Semi-Finalist Application (due Friday, March 15, 2019)
- Written task and submission of contact information for two references.
- Phone conversation with the Teacher of the Year coordinator.
- Selected applicants will be notified by March 29, 2019.

Round 3 — Classroom Observations (April 2, 2019 – April 12, 2019)
- A team from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will conduct classroom observations for selected applicants.
- Selected applicants will be invited to interview at DESE in Malden, and will be notified by April 15, 2019.

Round 4 — Finalist Interviews (April 22–April 26, 2019)
- Interviews with an independent selection committee will be held at the Department in Malden the week of April 22, 2019. For a candidate to be considered a finalist, s/he must go through the interview process.
- The recommended candidate will have interviews with the Senior Associate Commissioner of the Center for Instructional Support and the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Nomination form:

Application form:

If you have questions about the Teacher of the Year Program, please email the Educator Recognition mailbox at

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts