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.

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. 

Jonathan Crossley Named 2014 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Jonathan Crossley, an English language arts teacher at Palestine Wheatley High School in St. Francis County, was named the 2014 Arkansas Teacher of the Year at a surprise notification in Palestine November 19, 2013.

In addition to teaching 11th- and 12th-grade English and oral communication, as well as serving as the drama director, Crossley is the literacy coach for grades six through 12. He has been a teacher for four years and also served as the girls basketball coach for grades seven through 12 from 2010 to 2013. Crossley graduated magna cum laude in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. He is currently working on a Master of Education degree from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville.

Crossley will begin his service as Teacher of the Year in July of 2014.

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:

Kimberly Friedman, Director of Communications
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 403-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-4788

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