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Michigan Teacher of the Year Program Accepting Nominations for 2019-20

September 7, 2018

LANSING –The search is on for the 2019-20 Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY).

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is asking educators, administrators, students, and parents to help it find the next MTOY to preside over a time-honored program, sponsored by the Meemic Foundation. The program recognizes outstanding educational leaders across Michigan for their work to elevate the teaching profession.

Michigan Teachers of the Year have been recognized since 1952. This exclusive Michigan Teacher of the Year honor is part of the preeminent state- and nationally-recognized teacher recognition program in states across the nation.

“Great teachers are found in every district and school in our state,” Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said. “We’re asking for your help by nominating our state’s best teachers for consideration as the next Michigan Teachers of the Year.”

MDE’s online nomination form is open until 11:59 p.m. October 12 for people to nominate a teacher or teachers whom they feel are exceptional educators and have made substantial contributions to their profession.

“The Michigan Teacher of the Year program is a tremendous opportunity for anyone who has seen the energy, creativity and dedication of a local teacher, elevated to state-wide honor and recognition,” said Pamela R. Harlin, director of the Meemic Foundation. “Meemic Insurance Company is proud to once again sponsor and be a part of this prestigious program that not only recognizes these exemplary performers and teacher leaders in Michigan education, but also empowers them to be a voice to represent and address issues facing their local region and the state.”


  • serves as spokesperson for all Michigan teachers;
  • participates in monthly State Board of Education meetings;
  • travels to state and national events involving Teachers of the Year from states across the nation;
  • heads the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC), which is comprised of each year’s regional Michigan Teachers of the Year; and
  • remains a full-time employee of their district while MTOY

MDE supports the MTOY program as a key element in advancing Goal 2 of Michigan’s plan to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years. This goal reflects MDE’s belief that strong leadership in our districts and schools includes teacher leadership, and that the MTOY and Regional Teachers of the Year serve as role models for what high-quality instruction looks like in Michigan’s schools.

Once nominations close on October 12, they are reviewed to ensure that each teacher meets eligibility requirements. Nominees then are sent Part A of the MTOY application. Part A consists of submitting a resume, letters of recommendation, and essay responses to several prompts to gain a better sense of who each applicant is as a teacher and their approach to education. Next, applications are scored by a group of education stakeholders, with the top scorers from each of 10 regions moving on to the next round: Part B of the application.

Part B focuses on education policy and is designed to gauge each applicant’s knowledge of policy at the state level and to reflect on what policies they would focus most on if named a Regional Teacher of the Year or the MTOY, and how they would go about achieving their desired outcomes to those policies. Applications are graded by a group of education stakeholders based on thoroughness of knowledge and their plans to achieve desired improvements.

The top scorer in each region is named that region’s Teacher of the Year and invited to interview with a different panel of state education stakeholders. From that group, the next MTOY is chosen.

Last year’s selection process began with more than 550 nominations and concluded with the naming of 10 regional Michigan Teachers of the Year, including 2018-19 MTOY Laura Chang of Sunset Lake Elementary in Vicksburg Community Schools.

Through financial support provided by the Meemic Foundation, each regional MTOY receives a sponsorship that helps offset the costs of attending MTLAC meetings and traveling throughout their region as they meet with members of their education community.

MDE and Meemic also work to offer opportunities for regional teachers of the year to engage with education stakeholders through the year and to provide professional development to their colleagues.

For more information about the MTOY program, please visit or contact program coordinator Josh Roesner at