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2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year

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The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year (STOY) is an exemplary teacher who will serve as a liaison to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and as an ambassador to other teachers in the state. Learn more about this opportunity at Program Overview.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to be Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, teachers must:

  • Have completed at least four years of teaching experience,
  • Spend the majority of the school day in direct instruction of students,
  • Possess an active and valid Massachusetts teaching license for the subject and grade level taught,
  • Teach in a public school or DESE-approved adult learning center, and
  • Be a full-time teacher.

Note: Co-teachers who are applying together must teach in the same classroom at the same time and be responsible for the same students. Please see "General Application Instructions" below, which explain how to submit an application as co-teachers.

Application Process and Timelines

Teachers can apply to be Teacher of the Year themselves or be nominated by a colleague, student, family member, or other member of their school community. Teachers who are nominated will be invited to apply.

Please read the application process below, which includes a timeline and details regarding submission requirements for each round. Contact with any questions.

  • Round 1: Preliminary Application (due Monday, March 14, 2022)
    • Candidates will complete an online application that includes basic candidate information, a resumé, and written or video responses to three essay questions.
    • Semi-finalists will be selected and notified by March 25, 2022.

  • Round 2: Semi-Finalist Application (due Monday, April 25, 2022)
    • Candidates selected as semi-finalists will complete a Round 2 application that includes an essay question and submission of a teaching video, reflection, two references, and a photograph. (The photograph is for publicity purposes). The semi-finalist's principal must also submit a letter of support.
    • Semi-finalists will have a phone conversation with a member of the Teacher of the Year selection team.
    • Candidates will be notified by May 6, 2022 if they will advance to Round 3.

  • Round 3: Classroom Observations (May 6–June 30, 2022)
    • Representatives from the Teacher of the Year selection team will conduct classroom observations.
    • Selected applicants will be invited to a finalist interview.

  • Round 4: Finalist Interviews (Summer 2022)
    • A selection committee will interview finalists either virtually or at DESE in Malden over the summer. For a candidate to be considered a finalist, they must complete the interview process.
    • The recommended candidate will have an interview with the senior associate commissioner of the Center for Instructional Support (Heather Peske) and the commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education (Jeffrey C. Riley).

Round 1 Application: Due Monday, March 14, 2022

Application Sections

  1. Candidate Information
  2. Professional Resumé (please attach as a Word Doc or PDF)
  3. Essay Questions
  4. Photograph (recent color head and shoulder photograph suitable for publicity purposes)

General Application Instructions

  • Submit all required information through the online application.
  • Review the application process and eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application.
  • Observe instructions throughout, including word limits.
  • For co-teacher applications, each teacher needs to submit an individual candidate information form and resumé but may collaborate and submit one copy of each of the essays.

Please be aware that the material you submit will be the only information upon which this part of the application will be judged. Please do not submit additional materials.

Essay Questions

Please answer the following essay questions and enter your answers into the online application in writing or via uploaded video. Please adhere to the word count or video time maximums.

  • Describe a content lesson or unit that defines you as a teacher. How did you engage students of all backgrounds and abilities in the learning? How did that learning and your teaching influence your students? How are your beliefs about teaching demonstrated in this lesson or unit? (maximum 750 words or 6 minutes)

  • Describe a project or initiative you helped create which contributed to the improvement of overall school culture. What was your role, and what is the status of this project today? Please include evidence of student impact. (maximum 750 words or 6 minutes)

  • How do you ensure that education transcends the classroom? Describe specific ways in which you deliberately connect your students and the community. How do you collaborate with others (e.g. colleagues, students, families) in this work? Please include evidence of student impact. (maximum 750 words or 6 minutes)

Do not submit until you have attached your resumé and completed the essays. Please do not include any identifying student information.

Last Updated: January 13, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.