Questions & Answers

The selection of Maine's Teacher of the Year is a multi-step process that involves the students, colleagues and administrators who know the Teacher of the Year candidate best, along with education students, past Teachers of the Year and other expert judges.

  1. Who is eligible to become Maine’s Teacher of the Year?
  2. What do you have to do to nominate a teacher?
  3. What does the nominated teacher need to do?
  4. What is a semi-finalist?
  5. What does a semi-finalist need to do?
  6. What is expected of the state finalists?
  7. How does a teacher know if he or she is selected as the Maine Teacher of the Year?
  8. What is expected of the Teacher of the Year?
  9. What is the cost to the Teacher of the Year and the school unit?
  10. What happens if a semi-finalist does not complete the process?

1. Who is eligible to become Maine’s Teacher of the Year?

To be considered for nomination, a teacher must hold at least a four-year degree and be employed by a Maine public school, including a public charter school; or be employed by a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60 percent or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as "the academies" or "the Big 11").

2. What do you have to do to nominate a teacher?

Any teacher, parent, student, or community member may nominate a teacher by contacting the building principal, who then convenes a committee to complete the nomination papers.

3. What does the nominated teacher need to do?

The teacher who is nominated must write a paper on his or her philosophy around teaching and sign the nomination form.

4. What is a semi-finalist?

The six teachers whose nomination packets score highest are named semi-finalists. They are invited to progress to the next steps of the selection process.

5. What does a semi-finalist need to do?

Each semi-finalist is invited to the State House Hall of Flags to showcase their classroom. (This is not scored)

A specially appointed panel will visit each semi-finalist's school for a full day as part of the selection process. Each visit includes a student-led tour of the school; a classroom observation; conversations with parents, colleagues, administrators and students; and a wrap-up meeting with the semi-finalist.

Each semi-finalist must develop a professional portfolio following the National Teacher of the Year program guidelines. Each candidate also develops a 25-minute oral presentation and presents it to a group of teaching certificate candidates and a review panel.

The three semi-finalists with the highest average scores from these three events are named the state finalists.

6. What is expected of the state finalists?

State finalists are interviewed by a group of past Teachers of the Year and others, who select the next Teacher of the Year.

7. How does a teacher know if he or she is selected as the Maine Teacher of the Year?

Sometime in September, the Commissioner of Education announces the Teacher of the Year during a surprise all-school assembly.

8. What is expected of the Teacher of the Year?

The Teacher of the Year is expected to attend five national events: the initial gathering of all state Teachers of the Year in Scottsdale, AZ; a ceremony in Washington, D.C., with the President and the Secretary of Education; NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, AL.; the “Next Steps” conference in Princeton, N.J.; and the Digital Arts Storytelling Workshop in New York, N.Y.

In addition, the Teacher of the Year might be called upon to participate in a variety of programs, sit on association boards, and speak at a variety of events. The Teacher of the Year can make all of these decisions independently.

He or she should expect to be out of the classroom for all or part of 40 days of the school year. 

9. What is the cost to the Teacher of the Year and the school unit?

All costs incurred by the Teacher of the Year are paid or reimbursed by the Teacher of the Year program. 

Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the Teacher of the Year's school unit for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on official business.

10. What happens if a semi-finalist does not complete the process?

A semi-finalist who does not complete all three events will not receive the monetary reward or the gifts presented to the semi-finalists at the awards banquet held in the fall.