Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility Questions

  1. Who is eligible for the Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence?

    For Teacher of the Year, New Teacher of the Year, Excellent Support Staff, Excellence in Leadership, Lifetime Achievement and Team of the Year Awards: Anyone who is currently employed or who was recently employed i.e. last two years in a publicly funded school or school board/school authority.

    For the Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award: All registered early childhood educators who are currently employed or who were recently employed i.e. last two years in licensed early childhood or child care settings.

    For the Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year Award: A team comprised of a registered early childhood educator and a teacher who are currently employed or who were recently employed during the prior school year i.e. last two years in a full-day kindergarten class in a publicly funded elementary school.

Each award category has specific eligibility requirements – see chart below:

 

Award Category

Eligibility

  1  

Teacher of the Year

All certified elementary and secondary teachers (including occasional, part-time and recently retired teachers).

  2

New Teacher of the Year

All certified elementary and secondary teachers (including part-time and occasional teachers) who are in their first three years of teaching.

  3

Early Childhood Educator of the Year

All registered early childhood educators (including occasional, part-time and recently retired ECEs) in licensed child care settings.

  4

Excellent Support Staff

All school and board support staff (educational assistant, secretary, library technician, custodian, etc.), including occasional, part-time and recently retired staff.

  5

Excellence in Leadership  

All certified elementary and secondary teachers (including occasional, part-time and recently retired teachers).

All certified vice-principals, principals, supervisory officers and directors of education (including part-time and recently retired educators).

  6

Lifetime Achievement

All certified teachers, vice-principals, principals, supervisory officers and directors of education with at least 25 years of experience (including occasional, part-time and recently retired educators).

  7

 Team of the Year  

A team of 2-10 individuals who have worked together to achieve a common, specific goal. Teams can include educators, support staff or both (including occasional, part-time and recently retired individuals). They can work in a board office or a school, or in different schools and boards. Volunteers are not eligible for this category.

  8

Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year

A team comprised of a registered early childhood educator and a teacher (including occasional, part-time and recently retired individuals) who are employed in a full-day kindergarten program.


  1. Do educators have to be certified?
    Yes. Teachers, principals, supervisory officers/ superintendents, and directors of education must be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers and be members in good standing. Early childhood educators must be registered by the College of Early Childhood Educators and be members in good standing.

    This also applies to occasional, part-time, and recently retired educators.

    However, support staff do NOT need to be certified.

  2. Is a Letter of Permission acceptable instead of certification?
    No. However, individuals employed under the authority of a Letter of Permission (LOP) may be nominated as part of a Team of the Year award.

  3. How do I find out if my nominee is certified?
    For teachers, principals, supervisory officers/superintendents, and directors of education, visit the Ontario College of Teachers website. The “Find A Teacher” page lets you search for anyone who has been certified to teach in Ontario.

    For early childhood educators, visit the College of Early Childhood Educators' Public Register of Members.

  4. Are educators or staff employed in private schools or federally funded schools eligible for a Premier's Award?
    No. Only individuals who work in schools and boards funded by the province of Ontario are eligible.

  5. Are occasional and part-time educators eligible for an award?
    Yes. Occasional and part-time educators are eligible if they meet the criteria for that award category.

  6. Are early childhood educators eligible for an award?
    Yes. Registered early childhood educators who are employed in the publicly funded education system are eligible in the Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year and the Team of the Year award categories.

    Registered early childhood educators employed in licensed child care settings are eligible for the Early Childhood Educator of the Year award.

  7. How do I find out if a child care setting is licensed?
    Visit the licensed child care finder for a list of all home-based and centre-based licensed child care programs in Ontario.

  8. Are early childhood educators who work at Parent and Family Literacy Centres or Ontario Early Years Centres eligible for these awards?
    No. Parent and Family Literacy Centres, and Ontario Early Years Centres are not required to be licensed.

  9. Are registered early childhood educators who work in before- or after-school child care programs eligible for any awards?
    Yes. If the program is board-operated, and the early childhood educator is employed by the school board, then he/she is eligible in the Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year award category.

    If the program is run by a licensed third-party child care provider, then the early childhood educator is eligible in the Early Childhood Educator of the Year award category.

  10. Can I nominate a full-day kindergarten early childhood educator individually for an Early Childhood Educator of the Year award?
    No. Early childhood educators who work in a full-day kindergarten class cannot be nominated separately for other awards. They can only be nominated as part of a team for the Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year award.

  11. My child's full-day kindergarten class is taught by more than one teacher and/or more than one early childhood educator. Can I nominate all of them for the Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year award?
    Yes. The team may include more than one teacher and/or more than one early childhood educator.

  12. Are kindergarten teachers who don't teach in full-day kindergarten programs eligible for a Teacher of the Year award?
    Yes. All teachers who work in kindergarten classrooms without early childhood educators are eligible in the Teacher of the Year award category.

  13. Are retired educators eligible for an award?
    Yes, if they are in their first year of retirement. They must have been employed by a publicly funded school or board/authority during the prior school year.

  14. Are consultants/coordinators eligible for an award?
    Yes. Consultants and/or coordinators are eligible if they are directly employed by a school board in the publicly funded education system (must be on the board's payroll).

  15. Are volunteers eligible for an award?
    No. Individuals must be employed by a publicly funded school or board/authority or licensed child care provider to be eligible for an award.

  16. Can I nominate a teacher for the New Teacher of the Year award if they have just completed their third year of teaching?
    No. Teachers now in their fourth year of teaching are not eligible in this award category.

  17. What about staff who are on leave – are they eligible for the awards?
    Yes. If they have been on leave since September of the previous year or later and are still employed by a school board or licensed child care provider, they are eligible.

  18. Can someone receive more than one Premier's Award?
    No. Individuals may only receive one Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence in their lifetime. Previous award recipients (including Team of the Year and Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year award recipients) are not eligible.

Nomination Questions

  1. I nominated someone last year but they did not receive an award. Can I nominate the same person again this year?
    Yes. You can nominate someone for the same award category or a different one. You can use the same information, but you must submit a new and updated nomination package. The Ministry of Education cannot retrieve letters of support from last year's nomination package on behalf of the nominator.

  2. Can I nominate myself for an award?
    No. A colleague, parent of a student, student or person familiar with your professional work and accomplishments should nominate you for an award.

  3. Can a family member submit a nomination or write a letter of support?
    No. A colleague, parent of a student, student or person familiar with the individual's or team's professional work and accomplishments can nominate or write a letter of support.

  4. I want this to be a surprise. Can I nominate someone without telling them?
    No. The nominee must agree to be nominated and sign the consent form.

    Although there are many outstanding educators and support staff in the province, some may not be comfortable in the spotlight. Whether to accept or decline a nomination is up to the nominee.

  5. Can additional information be included with my nomination package (e.g., photos, letters from students, additional letters of support over and above the two requisite letters)?
    A complete nomination package includes the nomination form, the nominator's letter of support, and two additional supporting letters. If additional items are included in the submitted nomination package, this material will not be considered or evaluated. The items will not be returned to the nominator.

  6. Is there a limit on the size of a team being nominated for a Team of the Year award?
    Yes. The Team of the Year can only include up to 10 individuals.

  7. Can I fill out my nomination form electronically?
    Yes. The nomination form is a fillable PDF file, so you can complete it electronically. Please print out your completed form, sign it and submit it with the rest of the nomination package by mail or courier.

  8. Can I submit a scanned version of a nomination form?
    No. Original signed copies of the form are required for legal purposes.

  9. Can I submit my nomination by email or fax?
    No. All submissions must be sent by mail or courier, as we require original signed copies for legal purposes.

  10. What happens to the information in the nomination package?
    Personal information provided on the nomination form and any letters of support and discussions with the nominator will be used by the Premier's Office and the Ministry of Education to administer the Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence. Third-party vendors and an independent selection panel will be used to assist with the administration.

    If you are selected for an award, the Ministry of Education will use the information contained in the nomination package to feature your accomplishments in a variety of media including the ministry's website, news releases, video and digital media, social media outlets, and other promotional products to publicize the awards (with provided consents).

    All personal information is collected in compliance with ss. 38(2) and 39(1)(e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, as amended. For more information about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, please contact:

    Team Leader
    ServiceOntario for the Ministry of Education
    14th Floor, Mowat Block
    900 Bay Street
    Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
    (416) 325-2444 or Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-5514
    TTY (416) 325-3408 or 1-800-268-7095


Award Selection Process

  1. How are the award recipients determined?
    Award recipients are chosen by an independent selection panel that will review the nominations and make recommendations on who should receive an award in each of the categories.

  2. How is the selection panel chosen?
    Members of the selection panel will be appointed by the Minister of Education to represent the different perspectives of students, parents, teachers, early childhood educators, support staff and principals.

  3. Can't find the answer to your question? Call 1-800-387-5514