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Nominees for 2015 National Teacher of the Year Announced

The Academy Awards nominees will be announced tomorrow, and in the spirit of creating weeks-long speculation, the Council of Chief State School Officers today announced the nominees for its annual National Teacher of the Year award.

As always, there are four nominees:

  • Catherine Caine, an elementary teacher in Honolulu;
  • Ann Marie Corgill, an elementary teacher in Mountain Brook, Ala.
  • Kathy Nimmer, a high school writing teacher in West Lafayette, Ind.; and
  • Shanna Peeples, a high school English teacher in Amarillo, Texas.

Finalists are chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a selection committee formed of representatives from some of the largest educator professional networks in the country, including the two national unions. That committee bases its choices on written applications, which ask teachers about their professional accomplishments and views on the teaching profession.

The CCSSO doesn't view the award as a competition, a CCSSO spokesperson said via email, but as an honor that comes with the chance to represent the profession. It just happens to be an honor that comes with an enormous amount of exposure, a nationally televised speech (well, on C-SPAN), and a trophy. And it's also something you have to apply for.

This year's winner will be announced in April, and will be honored alongside the State Teachers of the Year at a White House ceremony in Washington. The finalists are announced in January because the ultimate winner goes on a one-year sabbatical, meaning they need to have time to make arrangements.

This marks the sixth consecutive year without a finalist nomination for a math teacher, incidentally. The draught also continues for teachers of the visual arts, which last had a finalist in 2005, and last had a winner in 1979.

Sean McComb, a high school English teacher in Baltimore, is the most recent educator to have been named National Teacher of the Year.

Image: President Obama and 2014 National Teacher of the Year finalists applaud Sean McComb, second from right, a high school English teacher from Maryland, as the 2014 National Teacher of the Year during an event at the White House. —Susan Walsh/AP

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