Last week, we announced the 175 Duval County school based Teachers of the Year. These teachers were nominated by their colleagues at each individual school. While principals are not required to follow a formal process in determining their school based teacher of the year, we provide them with the following suggested process:
- Principals provide their faculty and staff with the eligibility and selection criteria, as well as a ballot for each and every faculty and staff member.
- These ballots are collected and counted.
- The top five teachers at the school are invited to provide a written response to a series of questions.
- From there, a school selection committee is formed including a parent, community member, Duval Teachers United (DTU) representative, the principal and the former Teacher of the Year.
- The committee members review the written responses and conduct a 15-20 minute classroom observation. After the observation, this team meets and chooses the teacher that will represent their school as Teacher of the Year.
After the school based Teachers of the Year are selected, each teacher is invited to submit an online application that includes a resume, three letters of recommendation and essay responses to six questions. Once these are submitted, Jacksonville Public Education Fund facilitates the formation of five area selection committees. These selection committees include former school based Teachers of the Year, Duval County Public Schools district employees, DTU representative, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) representative and business/community members.
Each area selection committee reviews between 30-40 applications and narrows it down to five teachers. The committees then visit the five teachers' classrooms and conduct a 15-20 minute observation. After these visits, each area selection committee selects and submits the top three teachers from their group. These names are then submitted to Human Resources at Duval County Public Schools for a vetting process. After the teachers are vetted, we officially name the 15 semifinalists.
Once the semifinalists are selected, JPEF facilitates the formation of a final selection committee. The makeup of this group includes, the previous year’s Duval County Teacher of the Year, a representative from DTU and the PTA, business and community members and representatives from the Duval County Public Schools. This group reviews the semifinalist applications and conducts 30-45 minute interviews with each semifinalist. Then, they choose the top five finalists.
The final selection committee visits each classroom of five finalists for a 20 minute observation, and then selects the Duval County Teacher of the Year who will be honored and celebrated at the Duval County Teacher of the Year EDDY Awards gala scheduled for February 2.
The Duval County Teacher of the Year is then eligible to compete against other county-level winners for the Florida Department of Education – Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year award.
We are proud to say that the selection process is truly a community-led process, and because of this, it has allowed our organization to expand the EDDY Awards program beyond an awards ceremony to a program that aims to build a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the community and who work to improve our schools, student performance and the teaching profession.
If you are interested in serving as a volunteer on an area selection committee, please contact our Teacher of the Year coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org!