Teacher of the Year Awards
Updated November 20th, 2020
Overview of the Program
SHAPE America's Teacher of the Year program recognizes outstanding teachers in the following categories:
- Adapted Physical Education (K-12)
- Elementary Physical Education (K-5)
- Middle School Physical Education (6-8)
- High School Physical Education (9-12)
- School Health Education (K-12)
- Dance Education (K-12)
Individuals who are named Teacher of the Year by their state affiliate are eligible for SHAPE America's District Teacher of the Year award and have a three-year window to apply at the district level. District winners are eligible for the national award and the same eligibility rules are applied at the national level as the district level.
The SHAPE America Teacher of the Year review cycle begins in September of each calendar year for Teacher of the Year awards for the next calendar year. For example, the 2021 District and National Teacher of the Year review cycle will begin in September 2020 with the National Teachers of the Year being announced at convention in 2021.
The Teacher of the Year award winner is considered the winner from SHAPE America’s national convention until the next year's national convention.
Eligibility Requirements for Both District and National Teacher of the Year Awards
Teachers who meet the eligibility requirements may apply for one of the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year awards. The same eligibility requirements apply for both District and National Teacher of the Year awards.
Eligible state Teachers of the Year can apply for the District Teacher of the Year award in their category. Teachers may only apply for one District Teacher of the Year award even if they have received Teacher of the Year awards from two different states in two different districts. The applicant must apply only to the District in which they maintain their primary residence. SHAPE America membership is no longer required to apply at the District level.
- Minimum five years of teaching experience in the content area applying for
- Degree and certification in teaching
- Full time teaching at time of application submission & selection
- Retired teachers are not eligible
- Minimum of 50% of total job responsibilities is teaching in the category you're applying for at the time of application and selection:
- Adapted Physical Education
- Elementary Physical Education
- Middle School Physical Education
- High School Physical Education
- Dance Education (not as a subject within a Physical Education program)
- 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 12-credit hours in APE) is desirable. For Adapted Physical Education award ONLY.
- Must be a state teacher of the year award recipient in order to be eligible to apply. The previous three years state recipients are eligible for the current District award (e.g. 2018, 2019 and 2020 state Teacher of the Year winners are eligible for the 2021 District Teacher of the Year award).
- It is strongly recommended that state Teachers of the Year wait a full year before applying for their District Teacher of the Year award.
Please Note: Current members of SHAPE America's Board of Directors, current members of SHAPE America’s District Leadership Councils and former national Teachers of the Year are not eligible to apply for these awards.
Collect all of the required application materials listed below then complete the online application. At the conclusion of the online application, you will be asked to directly upload each of the required application materials. Completed applications will be sent to the appropriate district awards chair.
Required Application Materials
- Verification of Teaching Assignment Form
- Three letters of recommendation - NEW!
- One letter for each should be included from:
- a fellow teacher
- an administrator/supervisor
- a student. (Elementary teachers can allow parents to help them write a letter.)
- Award criteria outline (as specified below for each individual award)
- Professional head shot (JPEG at 300 dpi minimum) for promotional purposes only
The publicity form is no longer required.
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 upload each criteria answer in a separate Word document.
Example format for Award Criteria:
- All applicants are scored anonymously in a blind review.
- To be considered to move on to the next phase of the competition, a minimum score of 80% is needed. The number of reviewers determines the 80% minimum score. For example, when there are three reviewers in a category or content area, an applicant needs to score at least 55 points to meet the minimum for District Teacher of the Year (max points= 23, 23 x 3= 69, 69 x .80= 55). Please reference the rubric for additional details on how the full 23 points are tallied and to see the minimum and maximum scores for each criteria area.
- Teaching in a Title I school is often more challenging in many ways. Therefore, teachers that instruct in a Title I school are awarded an additional four points, one time, to their total score.
Prior to completing the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year online application, applicants should have all required application materials prepared and should complete an offline application (Word version of the online application) and save it.
Having the offline application will be helpful because once the online application is started progress cannot be saved to finish later.
(Word version of the online application)
Thanks for your interest in becoming a SHAPE America Teacher of the Year!
The Teacher of the Year application materials are currently under construction, but we'll be right back! Be sure to sign up for SHAPE America e-mails to stay in the know and never miss out on any updates.
Teacher of the Year Timeline
- September 15: State Teacher of the Year winners complete the online application (applicant should be sure they are submitting the most up-to-date materials).
- November 2: Deadline for the District Teacher of the Years to be selected and SHAPE America notified of selections by district awards chairs.
- November 20: District Teacher of the Year winners will be notified by SHAPE America by November 20.
- December 21: Deadline for District Teacher of the Years to submit videos for National Teacher of the Year consideration due to SHAPE America.
- SHAPE America National Convention & Expo: District Teacher of the Years are honored and National Teacher of the Years are announced at the Hall of Fame Celebration & Give Back Event.
District Awards Chairs
Central District: Clayton Ellis
Eastern District: Ellen Benham
Midwest District: Mary LaVine
Southern District: Lynn Williamson
Western District: Michelle Peterson
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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