Teacher of the Year Awards

SHAPE America's Teacher of the Year (TOY) program recognizes outstanding teachers in the following categories:

  • Physical Education — Elementary
  • Physical Education — Middle School
  • Physical Education — High School
  • Adapted Physical Education
  • School Health Education
  • Dance Education 

Individuals who are named Teacher of the Year by their state affiliate are eligible for SHAPE America's District Teacher of the Year award. District winners are eligible for the national award.

Please review all of the award instructions and criteria prior to starting the application process.

Eligibility Requirements

TOYEducators who meet the eligibility requirements and exemplify the criteria for these awards may apply for one of the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year awards.

  • Current SHAPE America membership
  • Minimum five years of teaching experience
  • Degree and certification in teaching
  • Full time teaching at time of application submission & selection
  • Minimum of 50% of total job responsibilities is teaching one of the following:
    - Physical Education
    - Adapted Physical Education
    - Dance Education
    - School Health Education
  • Certified Adapted Physical Educator (CAPE) or eligible to sit for the Certified Adapted Physical Educator exam (eligibility= 200 hrs. of practicum experience, at least one 3-credit hour survey course in APE) is desirable. For Adapted Physical Education award ONLY.
  • Two letters should be included with the application. Letters should be directly related to the awards criteria listed for each award. At least one letter for each should be included from: a fellow teacher, and an administrator/supervisor.
  • Must be state teacher of the year award recipients in order to be eligible to apply. The previous two years state recipients are eligible for the current District award (e.g. 2015 and 2016state TOY winners are eligible for the 2017 District TOY award)..

Please Note: Current Board of Directors members, Executive Committee members and former national Teachers of the Year are not eligible to apply for these awards.


The online application and all supporting materials must be submitted to SHAPE America via e-mail with three files. The three files include: 1 - PDF supporting materials - verification of teaching assignment, and two letters of recommendation 2 - award criteria, online application and 3 - headshot. Please send your applications to your District Awards Chair (see below) by respective due date. Incomplete packets will not be considered.  

Required Application Materials

  • Completed online application
  • Verification of teaching assignment form
  • Two letters of recommendation (as listed above)
  • Award criteria outline (as specified below for each individual award)
  • Professional head shot (JPEG at 300 dpi minimum)

Award Criteria 

When completing the award criteria please use the following format: Bold the specific criteria as a heading, then outline your qualifications in paragraph form below the bolded criteria heading (see example below). Responses to each criteria answers should be in one word document. Please do NOT send each criteria answer in a separate word document.

Example format for Award Criteria:
1. Conducts an appropriate physical education program as reflected in the students' individualized education programs and generally accepted standards or practice for physical education
Begin to write your answer to criteria 1 below the bolded heading in unbolded font


Application Forms

2016-2017 TOY Timeline

  • September 15, 2016: State TOY winners submit applications directly to their district awards chair or states send applications of state TOY winners directly to their district awards chair (see contact information below).
  • November 2, 2016: Deadline for the District TOYs to be selected and SHAPE America notified.
  • November 3, 2016: District TOY winners notified by SHAPE America.
  • December 21, 2016: Deadline for TOY videos for National Consideration due to SHAPE America.
  • March 17, 2017: TOY is honored at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo.

District Awards Chairs

Southern District: Karen Dowd

Southwest District: Ulrike Kerstges

Northwest District: Cathy Fischer

Central District: Scott Gorman

Midwest District: Marilyn Buck

Additional Award Information

Only applicants who have received the District Teacher of the Year award and are applying for the National Teacher of the Year award, must create a video with accompanying lesson plan. Details regarding this requirement will be sent to the district winners directly on November 3rd.

Past Award Recipients


If you have questions regarding a specific award, please feel free to contact us at TOY@shapeamerica.org.

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