Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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A Division of the Arkansas Department of Education

Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists and Semi-Finalists Recognized

During a July 31 ceremony at the Governor's Mansion, the 12 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists for 2021 were recognized and the four state semi-finalists were announced: Tia Brickey (Stuttgart), Amber Harbin (Little Rock), Susan Henderson (Conway), and Susanna Post (Fort Smith). Congratulations to all the regional finalists and state semi-finalists! (The event adhered to social distancing and virus prevention guidelines and directives.)
Watch the recording of the ATOY Regional Finalists and State Semi-Finalist Ceremony.
Read about the 2021 ATOY State Semi-Finalists.  (photo by Randall Lee, photographer, Office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson)
Learn more about all these outsanding educators at 2021 ATOY Regional Finalists.

The ATOY Selection Committee will conduct site visits with the four state semi-finalists, to include classroom observations and interviews, with the 2021 ATOY being named this fall.

2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Launches Teacher Talk Series2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Joel Lookadoo

Be sure to watch 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Joel Lookadoo in the Teacher Talk video series. The series focuses on "real teacher talk" and Lookadoo welcomes questions and ideas.

Recent episode topics include communication in schools, sanitizing procedures in the classroom, and effective instruction.


Springdale Teacher Named 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Joel Lookadoo received the surprise of a lifetime October 22, 2019, when he was named the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year at an assembly at Lakeside Junior High School in Springdale. Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key was joined by several State Board of Education members and legislators to honor Lookadoo, an Algebra 1 teacher at the school. Learn more at

Regional Finalists and State Semi-Finalists for 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Honored

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key recognized the four state semi-finalists for Arkansas Teacher of the Year during a ceremony August 16, 2018, at the Governor's Mansion. To learn more, please go to 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists

The 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists were also recognized. To learn more, please go to 2020 ATOY Regional Finalists.

Each public school district in Arkansas may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year and nominate that teacher for the ATOY.

A selection panel assembled by the ADE reviews the applications and selects the regional finalists, one representing each education service cooperative and one representing Pulaski County. The panel selects four state semi-finalists from among the regional finalists. The panel will conduct site visits before selecting the ATOY. 

To learn more about program guidelines, please go to Commissioner's Memo LIC-20-025: 2021 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Application Process.

Teacher of the Year Program

The classroom teacher is the backbone of the American education system. No one person has a greater impact on the education of a child than does the teacher who creates the primary learning and instructional environment. The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program, which is a project of the  Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs, began in 1952. 

As part of the NTOY program, the Arkansas Teacher of Year program identifies, recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools.

The mission of the ATOY program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teachers who implement "best practices" in Arkansas public school classrooms. The ATOY program is led by the Arkansas Department of Education in partnership with the State Board of Education.


For more information, please contact:

Sandra Hurst, Director of Educator Support & Development
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Four Capitol Mall, Room 402-B
Little Rock, AR  72201
Phone: 501-682-8526
Fax: 501-682-5118

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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