The road to being identified as a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year starts when teachers are nominated for a Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellowship Award. Once nominated by a student, parent, administrator or peer, the teacher must submit an application for a Kohl Fellowship. Applications progress through a multi-stage review process that includes district, region, and statewide selection committees. A total of 86 public school educators are selected annually to receive a Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award, which includes both a $6,000 personal grant and a $6,000 matching grant for their school.
DPI utilizes the applications of the 86 Fellowship Award winners, and sorts them by the teacher’s self-selected area (Elementary, Middle, High, and Special Services.) Through an additional selection process, applications are evaluated and four Teachers of the Year are selected to represent public education in Wisconsin for the coming school year.
Early in the fall of each year, a Teacher of the Year Selection Committee is convened, consisting of a diverse set of representatives throughout educational organizations, business entities, media, and the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. This committee interviews each candidate, and through a collaborative process, one of the four teachers is selected to represent Wisconsin in the National Teacher of the Year program.
The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation continues to provide financial support to the four Wisconsin Teachers of the Year through an additional $3,000 personal grant when they are selected as a Teacher of the Year, and an additional $6,000 grant for the teacher representing Wisconsin in the CCSSO National Teacher of the Year program.