Georgia’s Teacher of the Year Program (GaTOTY) annually spotlights the teaching profession and recognizes outstanding public school teachers at the local and state levels. 

The program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. It is a prestigious awards program to focus attention on excellence in teaching. The first Georgia Teacher of the Year was selected in 1971. Follow the Georgia Teacher of the Year on Facebook.


The candidate for Teacher of the Year should be:

  • A certified classroom teacher (clear and renewable certificate) in public prekindergarten through grade 12, including special education, physical education, art, music, media specialists and ROTC teachers. (Counselors are not eligible.)
  • An exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher who is planning to continue in active teaching status.
  • A teacher who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
  • A teacher who has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues.
  • A teacher who plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school.
  • A teacher who is poised and articulate and possesses the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.

Selection Process for GTOTY

Each system nominee submits an application packet that is based on the National Teacher of the Year Program application. Applications are judged on all items on the entry form, and ten finalists are selected. Interviews and video evaluations with the finalists are conducted by a panel of judges. Finalists also prepare a speech at a luncheon in the spring.

The Georgia Teacher of the Year, an educational ambassador for the Georgia Public School System, acts as a representative for all Georgia public school teachers and as an advocate for the school systems, its students, and its teachers. The Georgia TOTY’s numerous engagements usually include recognition before the Georgia House and Senate during the session of the General Assembly.

The GaTOTY typically takes a one-year sabbatical working directly with the Georgia Department of Education. During this time he or she speaks to various groups throughout the state. This teacher representative also conducts staff development activities for other teachers in his or her area of expertise; serves on statewide committees; and attends and participates in numerous state conferences.


June 2021 Application Opens
December 3, 2021 Application Deadline
March 2022 Ten finalists announced
March 2022 Finalist interviews and luncheon
April 2022 GaTOTY conference and banquet
July 1, 2022 2023 GaTOTY term of service begins
June 30, 2023 2023 GaTOTY term of service ends