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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Department of Education is expanding eligibility to become the next Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

The application process for 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year has begun.

The Department of Education has changed the rules to allow one teacher of the year winner from every school site in Oklahoma to be allowed to apply for the award.

Previously, only school district teacher of the year winners qualified as Oklahoma Teacher of the Year candidates.

“The change is meant to elicit a broader representation of teachers from across the state and to ensure every exceptional Oklahoma educator is eligible for recognition, especially in districts that do not select a district-level teacher of the year,” Department of Education officials said.

Department of Education officials ask school principals and superintendents to honor classroom teachers by giving them the opportunity to qualify for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

“Nominees should be exceptionally skillful and dedicated classroom teachers who demonstrate creative and effective teaching with students of all backgrounds and abilities,” Department of Education officials said.

Candidates must submit their 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year application packet by August 31.

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year has numerous responsibilities, including being the state’s ambassador of teaching, sharing knowledge and resources with educators around the state and promoting teaching as a profession. 

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named next March.