Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher of the Year

Nominations Being Accepted for the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

The Arkansas Department of Education is accepting nominations for the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (ATOY).

Each public school district in Arkansas may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year and nominate that teacher for the ATOY.

A selection panel assembled by the ADE will review the applications and select 16 regional finalists, one representing each education service cooperative and one representing Pulaski County. The panel will select four state semi-finalists from among the regional finalists. The panel will conduct site visits before selecting the ATOY. 

Candidates must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Candidates must be skillful and dedicated teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. 
  • The ATOY candidate must be engaged directly in instruction in a classroom setting for more than 70 percent of the individual’s contracted time. 
  • Instructional literacy facilitators must spend at least 70 percent of their time in the classroom to qualify. 
  • Administrators, librarians and guidance counselors are not eligible.

To learn more about program guidelines and to access the 2019 Candidacy Approval Form, please go to COM-18-072: 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Application Process.

Conway Teacher Named 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Excellence in teaching was the focus of a surprise announcement when Randi House, a kindergarten teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School in the Conway School District, was named the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year on September 29, 2017.

Learn more about Randi House at

See the photo gallery at

Regional Finalists and State Semi-Finalists for 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Honored

Fourteen outstanding teachers were named 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key recognized the regional finalists on Aug. 30, 2017, at the Capitol. During the ceremony, the four state semi-finalists were announced. To view a video of the recognition ceremony, go to

Press Release:  Four Named 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists

Press Release: 14 Selected as 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists

Courtney Cochran Named 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Courtney Cochran, a Spanish teacher at Van Buren High School, was named the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement Nov. 3, 2016 at her school. 

Teacher of the Year Program

The classroom teacher is the backbone of the American education system. No one person has a greater impact on the education of a child than does the teacher who creates the primary learning and instructional environment. The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program, which is a project of the  Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs, began in 1952. 

As part of the NTOY program, the Arkansas Teacher of Year program identifies, recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools.

The mission of the ATOY program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teachers who implement "best practices" in Arkansas public school classrooms. The ATOY program is led by the Arkansas Department of Education in partnership with the State Board of Education.

For more information, please contact:

Meghan Ables, Public Information Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 404-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-4786

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