Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher of the Year

Nominations Being Accepted for the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

  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. The NTOY   program continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program   that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. 

  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 functions under the leadership of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) in partnership with the State Board of Education.

ADE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. 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 area and one representing Pulaski County. The panel will select four state semi-finalists from among the regional finalists.

For more information about the nomination process and to access the 2017 ATOY Application Form, see Commissioner's Memo COM-16-072.

Profiles in Teacher Leadership Video Series

Led by the Arkansas Teacher of the Year, this series profiles examples of teacher leadership in Arkansas public schools. 

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 at the school. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key honored Ms. Ables 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

2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional and State Finalists Announced

Fifteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been selected as 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized them at a ceremony Sept. 17 at the Capitol. The top four finalists were announced at the event.

To see pictures of the event, go to To view a video of the event, go to

Be sure to take a look at the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Recognition Publication that spotlights each of the ATOY finalists!

Ouida Newton Named 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year 

Ouida Newton, a math teacher at Poyen High School, was named the 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Nov. 21, 2014, at a surprise notification event in Poyen
Newton currently teaches math for grades seven through twelve at the high school. During her 34-year career, she has taught math, Algebra I and II, sixth-grade science, pre-algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, transition to college math, physics, and Algebra A & B. 
She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia, with a double major in math and science. Newton received a Master of Library and Informational Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. 

For more information, please contact:

John Kaminar, Special Projects Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 403-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-5188

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