Local system superintendents may nominate a representative to participate in the selection process for the Georgia Teacher of the Year (TOTY). The candidate should be a certified teacher (with a clear and renewable certificate) who:
- is an exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher planning to continue in active teaching status;
- inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;
- has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues;
- plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school; and
- is poised and articulate and possesses the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.
- Must be a teacher for at least three years.
- Qualified ROTC teachers are allowed to participate.
The questions asked in the Georgia TOTY Application parallel the questions for the National TOTY program. It is suggested that participating systems use the same Narrative Response questions contained in the Georgia application when conducting the selection process within their systems. A panel of respected educators from across the state assesses the applications to narrow the field to ten finalists. Interviews and video evaluations with the finalists are conducted by a panel of judges. The selection process culminates with a luncheon to honor the finalists. Following the luncheon, the judges decide who will be the Georgia TOTY. The results remain a secret until announced at the TOTY event.
The Georgia TOTY will serve as an ambassador for Georgia public education traveling to speaking engagements, attending conferences, giving workshops, and working with the Georgia Department of Education, thus requiring considerable time away from home. This is a full-time position. The commitment spans the full fiscal year from July 1 to June 30. The Georgia TOTY will enter the National TOTY competition and, if selected, will commit to all of the responsibilities that come with that honor, including an additional year as an ambassador for public education across the nation.