New York State Teacher of the Year
New York State recognizes and celebrates the exceptionally skilled and passionate educators who exist in every school in the State. The purpose of the New York State Teacher of the Year program is to:
- Support the development of programs throughout the State that recognize great teachers in their schools;
- Engage exemplary teachers in professional development by completing the New York State Teacher of the Year application; and
- Identify and celebrate one teacher per year as the New York State Teacher of the Year who will represent all of New York State teachers at events throughout the State and at national events with Teachers of the Year from across the United States.
2024 New York State Teacher of the Year
The New York State Board of Regents announced on September 12, 2023 that Zachary Arenz has been named the 2024 New York State Teacher of the Year. Zachary, an elementary music teacher at Flower City School #54 in the Rochester City School District, will serve as an ambassador and voice for New York State teachers and will be recognized with other state teachers of the year at a White House reception in the spring. Zachary will also be put forth as our nominee for 2024 National Teacher of the Year.
Finalists for the 2024 New York State Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to the following finalists for 2024 New York State Teacher of the Year:
- Jonathan Clemmons, a 6th and 8th grade Technology Teacher, Minisink Valley Middle School, Minisink Central School District;
- Ellen Foley, Pre-K teacher, Wheelock Early Childhood Center, Fredonia Central School District; and
- Nichole Hantsch, Physical Science Teacher, Chenango Forks Middle School, Chenango Forks School District.
Celebrate and recognize the outstanding teaching that takes place in classrooms throughout New York and nominate a teacher!
A teacher may be initially nominated by any person within the school or community including parents, students, business leaders, school administrators, or colleagues using the nomination form. The formal nomination should involve a collaborative decision-making process indicating the support of all the groups concerned with the quality of teaching within a school. A complete application including letters of support is submitted for each nominee. Support from the school community may include approximately 30 days of release time to fulfill the obligations of the Teacher of the Year.
Please note: Applications have been extended until February 12, 2024.
Responsibilities and Program Benefits
The individuals selected to serve as State Teachers of the Year will be the ambassadors for the teaching profession across New York State and will lead by their passion for teaching.
The New York State Teacher of the Year is provided with numerous professional development opportunities. In addition, schools and districts may also experience several of the other benefits of the Teacher of the Year Program, such as:
- day of honor and learning for the New York State Teacher of the Year;
- information and technical support for principals about how to prepare and support excellent teachers;
- visit by the Commissioner of Education in the classroom and school of the New York State Teacher of the Year;
- coaching for other teachers on instructional approaches;
- every student, teacher, and parent in every school in the State will know that their school has exemplary teachers who are recognized for their craft; and
- meet the President of the United States.
Teacher of the Year Reflections
"Being selected as New York's Teacher of the Year is not only an honor but also a responsibility to represent and speak on behalf of the excellent teachers across the state."
-Greg Ahlquist, 2013 Teacher of the Year
"During my year as the 2011 NYSTOY I engaged in the most powerful
professional development possible. I spent four weeks working and growing
with the state teachers of the year from across the country and had dozens
of opportunities to speak to and with educational leaders and with
educational stakeholder agencies. It has changed my life and my practice forever.”
-Jeff Peneston, 2011 Teacher of the Year
“NYSUT is proud to support the New York State Teacher of the Year program as a profound opportunity to honor the teaching profession. The winners and finalists demonstrate the outstanding work our educators do every day, and we are pleased the State Education Department continues to recognize their extraordinary impact on the students and communities in our state.”
The Teacher of the Year Program
New York State (NYS) wishes to recognize and celebrate an exceptionally skilled and passionate educator to be an ambassador for NYS teachers and to serve as the NYS nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program.
Recognition awards or other support for New York State Teachers of the Year and/or their schools are provided by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT); New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (NYS PTA); New York State Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (NYSASCD); New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE); New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
The New York State Teacher of the Year Program is administered by the New York State Education Department. It is affiliated with the National Teacher of the Year program administered through the Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by leading education associations. Teacher of the Year is the oldest and most prestigious teacher recognition activity in the nation.