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Teacher of the Year (TOY)

Teacher of the Year (TOY)2022-11-03T14:21:11-04:00

The Teacher of the Year (TOY) program is administered by the Delaware Department of Education. Each year the program honors a Delaware teacher who exemplifies fine teaching in the state. The purpose of the program is to select a teacher who is worthy of speaking for and representing the positive contributions of all teachers statewide. The Delaware Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the state’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program.

Congratulations to the current Teacher of the Year, past winners, and nominees!

Award Year 2023 (AY 23)

Award Year 2022 (AY 22)

Award Year 2021 (AY 21)

Ashley Lockwood is announced as the 2023 Delaware State Teacher of the Year.

Program Information and Resources

The National Teacher of the Year Program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with Voya Financial.

The Teacher of the Year Program adheres to the requirements of the National Program regarding schedules; composition of the portfolios; and areas in which nominees will be judged. We are glad that we can go beyond the National guidelines by giving more attention to district nominees at work in the classroom and by having persons from outside the Department make the final recommendation.

The first phase involves the selection of five staff members from the Department. They read the portfolios submitted by the nominees for State Teacher of the Year. The readers review the materials and rate each portfolio based on specific criteria. A numeric rating is applied to each portfolio by the readers and an average of the five readings is calculated for each nominee.

In the second phase, ten staff members from the Department are selected to be observers. They are teamed with former State and local district teachers of the year. The teams are assigned to observe each district nominee at work in the classroom as well as interview the building principal and other teachers. Appointments are made at the convenience of the nominee, but they must take place within ten school days from the time the portfolios are submitted to the Department. The observers, who work in pairs, want to see the teacher’s typical work with students. The nominee’s relationships with other teachers and administrators are also factors to consider; but the major factor is the classroom performance of the teacher. There are guidelines for the observers to follow and a numeric rating is assigned to each nominee’s observation report.

The observation rating for each nominee is added to the portfolio rating. These two ratings are averaged together for a final score. The three nominees with the highest score become the finalists. The portfolios and reports of the three nominees are submitted to a panel of judges for their review and recommendation.

The Department invites as judges: the current State Teacher of the Year; the president of the Delaware State PTA; the president of the Future Educators  Association; a member of the State Board of Education; representative of the Chamber of Commerce; the president of the Delaware State Education Association; and the chair of the Professional Standards Board or if necessary, their designees. After reviewing the materials, one nominee will be recommended as the State Teacher of the Year. The judges recommendation is submitted to the Secretary of Education for final approval.

National Teacher of the Year Programs Conference

Each year the State Teachers of the Year meet to learn from each other and from experts on ways to improve and strengthen the role of Teacher of the Year. This annual conference is held during the third week of January. The names of the four National Teacher of the Year finalists will be made public in early January and they will be introduced at the banquet during the conference.

Washington, DC recognition of the National Teacher and State Teachers of the Year

In all years of the Program, the President has introduced the National Teacher to the American people. In recent years the President has invited the State Teachers of the Year to join in the Washington recognition. In past years, the Washington recognition has taken place during the third week of April. The dates will be confirmed at a later date.

International Space Camp

Another exciting opportunity for the State Teacher of the Year is International Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This camp, attended by the National Teacher and State Teachers of the Year, as well as teachers and students from over twenty countries, will allow you to learn about space technology in a supercharged atmosphere of excitement with colleagues from around the nation and the world. Just talk to a past State Teacher of the Year who has attended Space Camp if you want the inside story. The tentative date for Space Camp will be the last week of July.


The classroom teacher is the backbone of the American educational system. No one person has a greater impact on the education of a child than does the teacher who creates the primary learning and instructional environment. It is the mission of the Delaware Teacher of the Year Program to recognize and honor the contributions of the Delaware classroom teacher.


The Delaware State Teacher of the Year Program is a vocal community of award winning educators who represent exemplary teaching and serve as spokespersons and ambassadors for the profession. The TOY Program recognizes excellence in education and expresses appreciation for the many outstanding teachers in Delaware who serve as inspiration to teachers, students, and community members, while providing a representative to serve as the profession’s advocate throughout the year.

To be considered for the Teacher of the Year award a person shall have taught, continuously or intermittently, for an accumulative period of three years or more in a Delaware public school previous to the date of such person’s nomination; have been formally nominated; be actively teaching in their district or charter school in this state at the time of their nomination; and continue to actively teach in the nominating district or charter school for the duration of the year of their nomination. If the nominee chooses to leave the district or charter school during the selection period, the district or charter school shall submit another nominee. A nominee shall have met all the requirements for a Standard Certificate for the position held and hold a valid and current license, as approved by the Professional Standards Board, Department of Education and the State Board of Education. [Reference DOE Department Regulations – 235 Teacher of the Year]

The Department of Education shall meet annually with the district coordinators of the Teacher of the Year Program and the representative for the charter schools for the purpose of providing them with detailed instructions and proper forms for the presentation of nominees. Each district is invited to nominate one teacher employed by the district and the charter schools are invited to select one nominee to represent all of the charter schools.

Please note that the Teacher of the Year Application can be found on EdAccess.

Please review additional information about the nomination process and requirements.