Teacher of The Year

Idaho Teacher of The Year Program

The Idaho Teacher of the Year Program, which began in 1959, is one of the most prestigious honors in the state for teachers. The program focuses public attention on excellence in teaching that has a real impact on the students of Idaho.

The Idaho Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the districts' nominees by a selection committee representing the state education leaders and lawmakers. Each school district and charter school may nominate one teacher. School districts should submit the nominations to the State Department of Education before the end of the school year.

The Idaho Teacher of the Year also becomes a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers that is sponsored by Scholastic Inc.

2014 Idaho Teacher of the Year: Jamie Esler

BiographyJamie Esler, 2014 Idaho Teacher of the Year

Jamie Esler is a science teacher at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene. He has been a science teacher for five years.

Though early in his career, he has clearly demonstrated his passion for education. He strives every day to make sure the students in his classroom are not only learning about science but that they are engaged and that they know how these science concepts apply in the real world.

Esler has been recognized by his local school district for his talents. He was named a Rookie of the Year teacher when he first began. Last May, he was named Coeur d'Alene's Teacher of the Year. But according to his colleagues, his skills as an effective educator are apparent as soon as you walk into his classroom. One person said, anyone would be "absolutely blown away" by his skill and ability to captivate and engage students.

Why? At the heart of it, is the fact that Mr. Esler uses real-world examples in reinforce the lessons he is teaching in his classroom. He takes his students outside so they can see science in action. On one project, Mr. Esler's students collected water quality data and uploaded it onto a public database. They used the Idaho Education Network to communicate with other schools in this region about their results. Students also put their writing skills to work in science class, blogging about what they found.

Mr. Esler also embraces technology in his classroom. He recognizes that students in the 21st Century know technology and use it every day. But as a teacher, he emphasizes that students must learn to use technology responsibly. He shows students how technology can be used to address many environmental and scientific challenges we are facing in the world today, such as access to clean drinking water or the development of renewable energy sources.

As Idaho's Teacher of the Year, Mr. Esler will:

  • Receive $1,000 from the State
  • He will travel across Idaho talking with other teachers, legislators and policymakers about education in our state
  • He will travel to Washington, DC in the spring to meet Teachers of the Year from other states and the President of the United States
  • He will serve as Idaho's nominee for National Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Jamie Esler!

PDF Icon Teacher of the Year Guidance and Timeline (Applications must be postmarked by September 26, 2014)
Word Icon Teacher of the Year Application Form

The National Teacher of the Year application is the same as the state application form. Applications must be postmarked by September 26, 2014. Please mail, fax or e-mail applications to:

Portia Flynn
Teacher of the Year Coordinator
Idaho State Department of Education
PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0027
Phone: (208) 332-6812
Fax: (208) 332-6836
E-mail: pflynn@sde.idaho.gov

Past Winners
  • 2013 - Katie Pemberton, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d'Alene
  • 2012 - Erin Lenz, Winton Elementary School, Coeur d'Alene
  • 2011 - Stefani Cook, Rigby High School, Rigby
  • 2010 - Kelli Smith, Sacajawea Junior High School, Lewiston
  • 2009 - Robin Sly, Trail Wind Elementary School, Boise
  • 2008 - Carol Scholz, Idaho Arts Charter School, Nampa
  • 2007 - Mike Clabby, Lake City High School, Coeur d'Alene
  • 2006 - Mr. John "Mick" Sharkey, Parma High School, Parma
  • 2005 - Mrs. Paula Conley, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d' Alene
  • 2004 - Mrs. Tina Roehr, Meridian Academy, Meridian
  • 2003 - Mrs. Patti Perry, Skyway Elementary School, Coeur d' Alene
  • PDF Icon View Past Winners