Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Program Overview

Overview and description of the California Teachers of the Year Program.

The California Department of Education (CDE) invites county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, professional organizations, and private schools statewide to participate in the California Teachers of the Year Program for 2018. This program highlights educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching. Further, the program attracts public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system. Teacher quality -- recruitment as well as retention -- ranks high on every educational agenda in the state.

In 1972, California began recognizing outstanding teachers. This endeavor provides an arena for fostering the highly qualified teacher standard emphasized in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The program pays tribute to California's teaching force, the complexity of challenges that confront our schools, and the need to promote collaboration and teamwork to meet those challenges. The process results in the annual selection of five experienced teachers who reflect the diversity of our teachers and students.

The overall purpose of the California Teachers of the Year Program is to honor the profession chosen by 300,000 persons in the state and to heighten the interest in teaching as a career. The program affords the opportunity to bring attention to teachers who successfully employ strategies to increase academic success and narrow the achievement gap with a range of diverse students.

The program's goals are to:

  • Identify and honor exemplary and highly qualified teachers throughout California within a structure of local, regional, and statewide recognition activities.

  • Make the application process accessible to all teachers in the state.

  • Encourage the participation of teachers in local and county selection processes who reflect the rich diversity of their students.

  • Increase the participation of small or underrepresented counties.

  • Select five articulate teachers to serve as California Teachers of the Year for 2017 who will effectively represent the state's teachers; motivate and inspire other educators; and champion the positive contributions of the teaching profession.

  • Identify one teacher to compete in the National Teacher of the Year Program.
Questions:   Awards Team | | 916-319-0842
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 6, 2017