Tony Wood

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher of the Year


The Arkansas Teacher of the Year competition is part of the National Teacher of the Year Program (NTOY). The NTOY program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The NTOY program is now in its 61st year.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the ING Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs.

Act 17 of the First Extraordinary Session of the 85th Arkansas General Assembly provides for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year recipient to take a year of paid administrative leave to serve in an advisory position as a non-voting member to the Arkansas State Board of Education and for professional development purposes.

Ouida Newton Named 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year 

Ouida Newton, a math teacher at Poyen High School, was named the 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Nov. 21, 2014, at a surprise notification event in Poyen. 
Newton currently teaches math for grades seven through twelve at the high school. During her 34-year career, she has taught math, Algebra I and II, sixth-grade science, pre-algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, transition to college math, physics, and Algebra A & B. 
She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia, with a double major in math and science. Newton received a Master of Library and Informational Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. 

2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists Announced

Fifteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been selected as 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Mike Beebe recognized them at a ceremony Sept. 16 at the Capitol. The top four finalists were announced at the event.

To see pictures of the event, click here. To view video clips from the event, please see the links below. 

How to Become the Teacher of the Year

Each school district is encouraged to designate a district Teacher of the Year and submit the winner’s name to ADE to be considered for the regional Teacher of the Year honor. According to Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-17-2501 et seq., ADE is required to have at least one district candidate to represent school districts in Pulaski County and one district candidate to represent each education service area in the regional level competition; therefore, school district participation should be a priority, with submissions being sent to ADE.

The deadline to submit for the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year program will be announced at a later date. To see the criteria for the 2015 program, see Commissioner’s Memo COM-14-058: 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

For more information, please contact:

John Kaminar, Special Projects Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 403-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-5188

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