Teacher of the Year nominations close soon; committee encourages students to participate in selection process


Shannon Worley

Balloons fall in celebration as guitar teacher Traci Bolton is announced the 2019-2020 school year Teacher of the Year (TOY). Nominations for TOY are due on Nov. 20 at midnight for the 2020-2021 school year.

Caroline Black, Staff Reporter

Teacher of the Year (TOY) nominations for the 2020-2021 year are due at midnight on Nov. 20. Any student or staff member may nominate a Lafayette staff member they believe is deserving of the honor this year.

All staff members eligible for this award must be full-time, tenured teachers who have never been a previous winner. Along with teachers, this award may be given to counselors and librarians.

When filling out the nomination form, it is important to remember certain criteria the paragraph on the form must include in order to make your teacher stand out. The nomination form states the paragraph must be 250 words minimum to be considered by the TOY committee.

The committee is looking for some specific examples about what makes that teacher stand out in that nominator’s mind. Also, when we read a nomination, it is usually easy to see when that teacher has really made a strong impact on a student or colleague in some meaningful way,” TOY Committee chair Nancy Smith said.

However, the TOY selection process is much more in-depth than just the initial nominations by students or staff members.

After the initial nominations, the committee narrows down that group after reading the nominations and reviewing the candidates’ resumes. From that more narrowed down group, the next round consists of the candidates submitting two essays that talk about their educational philosophy and achievements.

After a group of finalists is selected, the person who nominated that candidate makes a five-minute presentation in front of the entire Lafayette staff, who then votes to select the winner in January.

After a TOY is selected at the high school level, they then move on to a district-wide TOY competition.

Smith said she believes this year’s TOY award will be more memorable for the Lafayette community due to the challenges of COVID-19. In a virtual setting, it is much harder for teachers to engage students and leave a lasting impact on their lives.

I think that our very best teachers are even more deserving of recognition now more than ever because of the unbelievable challenges they are facing as educators. So, students should really consider who has stepped up and met that Zoom challenge? Who has worked to make connections? Who has still made the content come alive and hold meaning? Those staff members are the very people that we want to recognize as part of the Teacher of the Year program,” Smith said.

Students and staff can find the link to the nomination form in their Rockwood emails or click here to access the nomination form.