Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program is coordinated through the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ryan Walters. The program is in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The 2024 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be announced in June 2024 and will travel across Oklahoma as an ambassador for teachers during the 2024-2025 school year.

If you have any questions regarding the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year process; please contact: teacheroftheyear@sde.ok.gov



Teacher of the Year Request to Speak

2024 Teacher of the Year Finalists



2023 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Traci Manuel

Traci Manuel - Teacher of the Year 2023 Tulsa Public School’s Traci Manuel is an English Language Arts Teacher at Booker T. Washington High School. Manuel’s fierceness, dedication, and unique teaching methods, inside and outside the classroom, have always caused her to be a motivator and champion for all children. Her unconventional path to teaching shows her that the difference begins in the classroom. This teaching path started for her as a full-time graduate student, where she began studying the effects of the achievement gap on African American students at Ann Arbor Public School District. The outcome of this study propelled her to dive deeper into the data to see if there were similar disparaging academic parallels with her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home of the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre. After further research, she was astounded by the alarming connections. Motivated to make a difference, she eventually moved back home to Tulsa, where she started first as a long-term substitute and moved through the ranks as a teacher assistant, a parent facilitator, and finally, a certified classroom teacher in Tulsa Public Schools. Manuel shows students in her 13 years of teaching experience that life has two roads, and she took the one less traveled, and it’s made all the difference.

General Qualifications

All Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 classroom teachers in state-accredited schools are eligible for nomination. It is important that every teacher is given the opportunity to participate in this recognition process. No minimum years of teaching experience are required to be qualified for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Nominees should be exceptionally skillful and dedicated classroom teachers who are planning to continue in an active teaching status. According to the director of the National Teacher of the Year Program, a classroom teacher is one who teaches a group of students every day within the confines of the classroom and does not have administrative duties. Nominees should communicate effectively and demonstrate creative and imaginative teaching on a day-to-day basis. The nominee should have the ability to inspire the value of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities and assure academic success. Nominations should be made without regard to age, sex, race, or religion.

Selection Process

At the local district level, the Teacher of the Year program is coordinated through the district superintendent. It is the responsibility of the district superintendent to make sure that every teacher is allowed to participate in the recognition process. It is important to emphasize that the search is not for “the best teacher,” but for one who exemplifies the finest in the profession.

Local District Selection Process

The local school district determines the local selection process and announces the local Teacher of the Year.

Regional Selection Committee

The regional selection committee will evaluate the applications that have been submitted by local Teachers of the Year and select eighteen semi-finalists to continue to the Finalist Selection committee.

Finalist Selection Committee

The finalist selection committee will evaluate the applications of the semi-finalists as well as conduct a virtual interview and select the finalists to continue to the State Selection committee.

State Selection Committee

The state selection committee will follow the procedures identified below for each of the finalists to select the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

  • View a digital video file of classroom teaching.
  • Conduct an in-person interview.
  • Recommend the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year to the State Superintendent


Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Recognition

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year serves as Oklahoma Ambassador of Teaching, representing Oklahoma in the national competition by sharing knowledge and resources with fellow educators around the state and encouraging education as a profession.


Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship

The $5,000 scholarship is awarded to a high school senior in the current Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s district.

The Oklahoma State Fair Board established the Edward C. Joullian III $5,000 Scholarship to be awarded to a high school senior in the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s school district. The scholarship winner is announced at the Oklahoma State Fair. This scholarship was established to encourage students to continue their education, recognize the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s school district, and celebrate the contributions of Mr. Joullian to the lives of Oklahoma’s young people.

Former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year List

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Last updated on March 7, 2024