Teacher of the Year Award

Congratulations to the 2023 FCPS Teacher of the Year, Nicole Rhoades from Windsor Knolls Middle School!

2023-2024 Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year Award is the county's most prestigious award for teachers. Each of the state’s 24 school systems selects a Teacher of the Year who serves as a teacher ambassador.  One of these local winners is named the Maryland Teacher of the Year and goes on to compete for the title of National Teacher of the Year.

2023 School Level Teachers of the Year


The FCPS Public Affairs Department coordinates the nomination and selection process before forwarding materials to the Maryland State Department of Education.  A call for nominations will be made in January.

Nominations are open to Principals only.

Principal's Nomination

Please nominate one teacher from your school by providing a few sentences or short paragraph that says why your nominee would be a great FCPS Teacher of the Year. Principal Nominations were due by Friday, February 3, 2023

  1. Use the following naming convention: school acronym – nomination – nominee first and last name i.e., GTJHS-Nomination-Jonathan Kurtz.
  2. Upload your nominations at https://tinyurl.com/2023-2024-toy-nominations

2022 Process and Timeline Overview

Round 1

  • Part A: Principal nominations (see below) were due Friday, January 28, 2022
  • Part B: Nominees submit resumes, Late February

Selection: A small panel reviews all nomination materials and selects 20-25 teachers to move forward in the process.

Round 2: Quarterfinalist Phone Interviews, Early March

Selection: A different panel conducts short phone interviews with each quarterfinalist. They select 10-15 semifinalists.

Round 3: Semifinalists Complete Essays, Late March

Selection: Semifinalists complete short essays (3-5 pages in total) which are reviewed by a third panel. The panel selects 3-5 finalists.

Round 4: Finalist Interviews, Early April

Selection: Finalists complete additional short essays (another 2-3 pages). A final selection panel reviews all essays, conducts an in-person interview with each finalist, and selects the Teacher of the Year.


Tiana Haile
Public Affairs Department

191 South East Street, 2nd Floor
Frederick, MD  21701
(301) 696-6900

Nominations are open to Principals only.

Download the printable flier

School Level
Teachers of the Year

2023 Teachers of the Year
2022 Teachers of the Year
2021 Teachers of the Year
2020 Teachers of the Year
2019 Teachers of the Year

Prior Years' Winners

Basic Teacher of the Year Criteria

  1. Articulate, energetic, inspiring and charismatic
  2. Fulltime teacher (classroom, resource or media specialist)
  3. Minimum 5 years of teaching
  4. Leader in their school and community
  5. Passionate about education; interested in education issues and trends
  6. Established teacher with advanced training and education

Questions? Contact: Tiana.Haile@fcps.org

TOY Nomination Frequently Asked Questions

Can I nominate someone that has been nominated in the past?
Yes, you can nominate a teacher that has been previously nominated for the TOY award or any other teacher recognition award.

Can I nominate more than one teacher from my school?
The Superintendent’s goal is to have one nominee from each school. However, if choosing just one teacher is too difficult for whatever reason, you can nominate two teachers from your school.

Can I nominate a guidance counselor?
No, guidance counselors are not eligible to receive this award per criteria provided by MSDE. Only fulltime teachers – classroom, resource or media – may be nominated.

Can I nominate a media specialist?
Yes, you can.

How long must a person have been a teacher to be nominated?
A teacher must have completed a minimum of 5 years of teaching prior to the year of nomination (e.g. – this year, nominees must have begun their teaching career in or before the 2017-2018 school year).

What if a teacher has 5+ years of teaching experience overall, but is new to Frederick County?
Any fulltime teachers may be nominated, as long as they have completed at least 5 years of teaching at the time of their nomination, regardless of where they’ve been teaching. The number of years teaching in Frederick County - or even in
Maryland - is not an eligibility requirement.

How should I pick my nominee?
There’s no “right way” to choose a nominee. Different principals choose in different ways. Some make a choice independently. Others consult with faculty, staff, or parents to make a selection. Others form a small committee to make a selection. Regardless of your process, your nomination must be submitted by Thursday, January 30, 2020.

What if I nominate someone and the teacher can’t or doesn’t want to move forward with the selection process?
That’s ok! Nominees may withdraw from the selection process at any time, no questions asked. For some teachers, simply being nominated by their principal is recognition enough.

What prizes will the Frederick County Teacher of the Year receive?
All FCPS TOY nominees receive special, personal recognition by the Superintendent and Board of Education. The Teacher of the Year receives a variety of prizes from the State and FCPS, including professional development opportunities throughout the year, recognition at a state-hosted banquet, and other prizes. The Teacher of the Year’s home school also receives special recognition throughout the year.