Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Teacher of the Year Program

Arkansas Teacher of the Year logo

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. To learn more about this process in Arkansas, go to Commissioner's Memo LIC-22-023.

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.

North Little Rock Educator Named 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Capri Salaam, a social studies teacher at North Little Rock Middle School, received a surprise of a lifetime when she was named the 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.  Salaam, a multi-classroom lead teacher, was one of four state semi-finalists for the award and was chosen by the ATOY selection committee for her innovative teaching practices, her ability to connect with students from diverse backgrounds, and her efforts to stay engaged with her students after they leave her classroom. To learn more, please read the press release.

Cabot Educator Named 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Jessica Saum, a special education teacher at Stagecoach Elementary School in Cabot, was named the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony at her school. Saum, who has been a self-contained special education teacher for grades K-4 in Cabot since 2018, is known not only for her excellence in the classroom but for her advocacy work on behalf of her students, her efforts to connect her students with learning opportunities in the community, and her support for military families. press release.


For more information, please contact:

Venus Torrence, Educator Impact Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Educator Effectiveness
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-4786

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