Every year, South Dakota selects a Teacher of the Year to represent the state in the national competition in Washington, D.C. In previous years, the South Dakota TOY has received a prize package including things like the use of a car for one year, a $14,000 technology package from SMARTer Kids Foundation, and $3,000 cash awards from the South Dakota Community Foundation and Citibank.
The Department of Education invites accredited school districts across the state to select a District Teacher of the Year. That person will represent your district in the Regional Teacher of the Year competition, which is run through the Education Service Agencies. In the spring, each of the ESAs selects a Regional Teacher of the Year. The state Teacher of the Year is selected from that pool of regional winners.
The goal of the Teacher of the Year Program is to recognize and honor the tremendous contributions of the state’s outstanding classroom teachers.
A South Dakota Teacher of the Year should demonstrate the following qualities:
- Have a superior ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;
- Be an exceptionally skilled and dedicated classroom teacher from a state approved or accredited school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12;
- Have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues;
- Play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school; and
- Be poised, articulate and have the energy to withstand the demanding schedule that would accompany selection as the South Dakota Teacher of the Year.