Teacher of the Year
for the Year 2011
Information and Guidelines
Office of the Deputy Secretary for
Elementary and Secondary Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
PENNSYLVANIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM
FOR THE YEAR 2011
The purposes of the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year program are to celebrate excellence in teaching, honor
individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the young people of Pennsylvania, and select a
nominee for the National Teacher of the Year award. Nominees shall:
• possess a valid Pennsylvania Instructional II certificate;
• be an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled pre-kindergarten through grade twelve
teachers in any public school in Pennsylvania;
• plan to continue in an active teaching status through 2010 – 2011;
• incorporate effective and innovative instructional strategies, particularly elements of Standards Aligned
• inspire students of all backgrounds to learn;
• have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues;
• play an active role in the school and community;
• be life-long learners;
• be poised, articulate, and have good communication skills.
Teacher of the Year Responsibilities
Being a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and nominee for the National Teacher of the Year is a great honor
and responsibility. The Regional Teachers of the Year and the National Nominee, in particular, will be asked to
participate in a variety of activities, such as serving on Department of Education committees and making
presentations to various groups. The National Nominee will also be invited to participate in state nominee
activities. Districts will be expected to provide substitutes for the teachers to participate in a reasonable number
of activities as Regional Finalists and Teacher of the Year. Regional Finalists and the Teacher of the Year will
return to the annual Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Educational Forum the following year to present Best
Practices and participate in professional development sessions. The National Teacher of the Year is released
from classroom duties for a year to serve as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession.
Nomination and Selection Process
Any parent, community member, student, or educator can nominate an individual who meets the criteria in the
section above to be a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Nominees must complete the Pennsylvania Teacher of
the Year Application Form for consideration.
The Selection Committee of the National State Teachers of the Year-Pennsylvania Chapter, with the guidance
and assistance of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will review and score the nomination packets to
select the Semi-Finalists and Regional Finalists from each of the state’s four regional areas.
The four regions and Intermediate Units they serve are:
Region I – IU’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 27
Region II – IU’s 6, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19, 28
Region III – IU’s 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 29
Region IV – IU’s 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
The Teacher of the Year selection process is rigorous. Scoring criteria incorporates the components of
Standards Aligned Systems (SAS) to validate a candidate’s instructional methods in the classroom and ability to
communicate educational philosophies and issues to a wide audience. For more information on Standards
Aligned Systems (SAS), visit www.pde.state.pa.us and click the Standards Aligned Systems link on the right
side of this page. There you will find information on the six common elements that support great schools. You
will also find a motivational video titled “Teaching Matters” produced by the Pennsylvania Department of
One elementary and one secondary Regional Teacher of the Year will be selected from among the Semi-
Finalists in each of the four state regions, along with one at-large selection in each region regardless of teaching
level. The Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year for the year 2011 will be selected from among the twelve
Regional Teachers of the Year and will be the Commonwealth’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.
Each nominee must submit a Nomination Packet, which includes a completed Application Form and three
original letters of recommendation. All information and responses for Sections 1-4 of the Application Form
must be typed on the form. Font type/size and spacing is preset for standardization of applications. Only the
number of pages indicated will be accepted for each question. Section 5 includes three letters of
One original hard copy of the completed Nomination Packet must be made. This packet must include the
Application Form with the required signatures of the nominee and his or her superintendent in Section 1.
Section 5 must include the three original letters of recommendation. Staple all materials from Sections 1-5
together in the upper left corner as one Nomination Packet. This original packet must be postmarked by
December 31, 2009, and will be mailed to:
918 Tanglewood Dr.
Bethel Park, PA 15102
In addition to the original signed hard copy of the Nomination Packet, the complete packet must also be
e-mailed as one Microsoft Word document (.doc) or PDF (,pdf) file to Lora O’Brien at
RA-PA-STOY@state.pa.us by December 31, 2009. The three letters of recommendation must be scanned,
saved as JPEG files, and inserted as noted in Section 5 of the Application Form. Be sure to save this
Nomination Packet as first name last name, Region #, Level, i.e. Lora O’Brien, Region 1, Elementary.
*Unmet deadlines and/or requirements result in scoring penalties or elimination.
If you have any questions about the application process, you may contact Dolorez Cobb-Jones at the
Pennsylvania Department of Education (717-783-4307.)
PENNSYLVANIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR FOR 2011: NOMINATION PACKET
SECTION 1: COVER SHEETS
Complete this informational section in full. Be sure that the required signatures are secured for Section 1 on the
original copy that will be mailed to the Selection Chair.
SECTION 2: EDUCATIONAL HISTORY AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (two singled-
Beginning with your current employment, list your teaching employment history indicating time period,
grade level, and subject area.
Beginning with your most recent post-graduate attendance, list colleges and universities you attended.
Indicate earned degrees and dates of attendance.
List activities in your personal professional development. Begin with your most recent activities. List
professional memberships, participation, and contributions to local, state, and national academic
organizations. Include offices held and other relevant activities. (Please write out acronyms for names
of organizations, and indicate whether they are local, state or national levels.)
Beginning with the most recent activities, list your contributions to staff development.
List contributions you have made to the training of future teachers. Begin with your most recent
Beginning with your most recent recognition, list awards and other recognition of your teaching.
SECTION 3: PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY (two double-spaced pages)
Describe your personal feelings and beliefs about teaching, including your own ideas of what makes you
an outstanding teacher.
Describe the rewards you find in teaching.
How are your beliefs about teaching demonstrated in your personal teaching style?
SECTION 4: THE TEACHING PROFESSION (three double-spaced pages)
What do you consider to be the major public education issues today? Address one in depth, outlining
possible causes, effects, and resolutions.
What do you do to strengthen and improve the teaching profession?
What is and/or what should be the basis for accountability in the teaching profession?
SECTION 5: LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Three letters of recommendation must be included in the Nomination Packet. These must include letters from
the principal, another teacher in the school, and a parent. No additional letters will be considered. Letters, on
proper letterhead, should explain the qualities the nominee possesses and activities he/she has undertaken that
qualify him/her for statewide recognition. The original letters will be mailed with one signed copy of the
Application Form to complete the Nomination Packet. Scanned copies of these three letters will be inserted into
the electronic version of the complete Nomination Packet.