Teacher of the Year Award
Congratulations to the 2023 FCPS Teacher of the Year, Nicole Rhoades from Windsor Knolls Middle School!
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.
Public Affairs Department
191 South East Street, 2nd Floor
Frederick, MD 21701
Nominations are open to Principals only.
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
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 are due by Wednesday, January 31.
- Use the following naming convention: school acronym – nomination – nominee first and last name i.e., WKMS – Nomination – Nicole Rhoades.
- Upload your nominations at https://tinyurl.com/2024-2025-toy-nominations.
2024 Process and Timeline Overview
- Part A: Principal nominations (see below) were due Wednesday, January 31.
- Part B: Nominees submit resumes (Mid-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.
Basic Teacher of the Year Criteria
- Articulate, energetic, inspiring and charismatic
- Fulltime teacher (classroom, resource or media specialist)
- Minimum 5 years of teaching, meaning teachers must be in their 6th year of teaching or beyond
- Leader in their school and community
- Passionate about education; interested in education issues and trends
- 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 Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
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.