Frequently Asked Questions



Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can nominate?

Anyone may nominate. A current student, former student, parent, teaching colleague, administrator or member of the community may wish to recognize outstanding efforts by putting forward the name of an exceptional teacher. Just fill out the online form to start the process. Self-nominations or nominations of family members will not be accepted.

2. Who can be nominated?

Nominations are open to all teachers in Ontario’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools, including public, Catholic, and francophone school boards.

3. How do I nominate?

Fill out the online nomination form listing relevant information about your teacher choice to support the nomination. Collect your information before you start filling in the form.

You’ll need to explain your choice and describe how your nominee meets the criteria. You’ll also need two references who will provide their support for the nomination in a letter of support referencing the criteria. Ask your references to email their letter to you, so you can paste them into the online nomination form.

You will also need contact information for your teacher nominee, including school name, school address, and school board.

When you submit the nomination, it will be sent to the Ontario Teachers’ Federation for consideration by a committee and, if successful, a final jury.

Multiple nominations will be considered as one nomination. The earliest received nomination will be used for consideration. Additional supporting letters would be preferred to additional nominations.

4. Who can be a reference?

Anyone may act as a reference. You may choose a colleague who has seen the teacher in the classroom, a parent who knows the teacher, a student who has benefited from outstanding support, a community member who’s seen leadership in action or anyone else who knows the work of the teacher. It is a good idea to get references from a variety of people.

5. What is a reference?

A reference is another person who will support your nomination with a letter of reference that uses the award criteria.

6. What are the prizes?

Nominated teachers receive a Certificate of Nomination, and shortlisted candidates receive a Certificate of Honorable Mention. Winning teachers are hosted at an awards ceremony in Toronto where they are presented with a personal award of $1,000 and a Certificate of Recognition. Their schools are recognized as well with a $1000 prize and a Certificate of Recognition. The winning teachers are featured in a video vignette on the individual teacher page in the Winning Teachers section of this website.

7. When is the award announced?

The award recipients are publicly announced each fall.

8. What is the deadline?

The deadline for nominations is on March 31, at 11:59pm. All online submissions must be completed by this time, and all support materials must be received. The website will stop accepting nominations once the deadline has passed.

9. Who is judging?

Nominations are sent electronically to the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. A committee of classroom teachers from OTF’s Affiliates will review the forms and develop a short list of up to 10 candidates per category for consideration by the final jury. The final jury includes representatives of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan, high level representatives of educational stakeholder groups, as well as general supporters of publicly funded schools in Ontario.

10. Who is presenting this award?

The Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan are pleased to recognize and celebrate excellence in teaching by sponsoring this awards program.

11. What do I need to support the nomination?

Fill out the Nomination form explaining what makes your candidate exceptional, with letters of support from two additional references. Be sure everyone references the Award Criteria as described on the Nomination Form. Additional supporting materials such as testimonial confirmation letters, samples of students’ work or the teacher’s work can be uploaded online or mailed. Please note: All submitted materials become the property of OTF and cannot be returned. All supporting material must be received by the nomination deadline of March 31 each year, at 11:59pm.

12. What are the criteria?

Check out the award criteria at the top of the Nomination page.

13. Who is a beginning teacher?

A beginning teacher is in his or her first five years of practice.