Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher of the Year

The Arkansas Department of Education is accepting nominations for the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (ATOY). The award recognizes educators who go above and beyond to truly make a difference in the lives of students as well as in their school, district and community. As part of the National Teacher of the Year program, the ATOY program identifies, recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools.

Each public school district may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year and nominate that teacher for the ATOY. A panel assembled by the ADE will review applications and select 16 regional finalists - one representing each education service cooperative area and one representing Pulaski County. The panel will select four state semi-finalists from the regional finalists.

For more information about the nomination process, see Commissioners Memo COM-17-042.

See Letter to Superintendents from the State Board of Education.

Courtney Cochran Named 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

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

Cochran, who just began her 11th year of teaching, was named one of four State Semi-Finalists Sept. 28 at a ceremony at the Capitol. After site visits, which included interviews and classroom observations at each of the four State Semi-Finalists’ schools, Cochran was selected as the 2017 ATOY. To learn more, go to

To view photos from the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Announcement, go to
View the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Notification Announcement and the video of Gov. Asa Hutchinson Congratulating the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

Meghan Ables Named 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Meghan Ables, an English teacher at Stuttgart High School in the Stuttgart School District, was named the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year at a surprise event Dec. 7, 2015 at the school. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key honored her at the event.

Ables is an 11th-grade English/literacy and journalism teacher. Because of her contribution to learning, student test scores have dramatically improved during her tenure at the district. Ables also serves as a leader at her school, having conducted professional development activities for using literacy techniques in the classroom. A native of Stuttgart and a graduate of Stuttgart High School, Ables received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 2002 from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. To learn more, go to

Read Ables' blog! Go to

Dare to be Different Video Series

Led by 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Meghan Ables, this series features passionate teachers engaging students with unique learning opportunites. Take a look at the first video in the series:

For more information, please contact:

Kimberly Friedman, Director of Communications
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 404-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-4788

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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ESEA Flexibility

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