· be a full-time, certified, in good standing, pre-k–12 teacher in a state-accredited public or charter school in Tennessee at each stage of the recognition process (school, district, region, grand division, state, and national levels),
· spend the majority of the school day in direct instruction to students,
· have a minimum of three years of experience as a teacher in Tennessee public or charter schools, and
· have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning.
Teachers of the Year at all levels must:
· have a broad understanding of research-based models for effective teaching and of current trends and issues in education,
· be facilitators of learning, skilled in implementing creative teaching strategies,
· be able to show evidence of positive teacher effect over time related to student achievement through formal and informal documentation,
· be able to explain, discuss, and defend a personal philosophy of teaching,
· be poised, articulate, enthusiastic, and energetic,
· be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled,
· have a superior ability to teach and to inspire in students a love of learning,
· be recognized as leaders in the community and in the school,
· show active involvement and leadership in professional development and extra-curricular activities,
· inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, and
· have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues.