The road to become 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 go through a review process that includes regional and statewide selection committees. A total of 86 public school educators receive a Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award annually. The award includes both a $6,000 personal grant and a $6,000 matching grant for their school.
After the Kohl Fellows are selected, DPI engages a group of stakeholders to use those 86 applications to select the five Wisconsin Teachers of the 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 five 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 five 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.