Teacher of the Year

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 district 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.

Application and Guidelines

The National Teacher of the Year application is the same as the state application form. Applications must be postmarked by August 19, 2016.

Please mail, fax, or e-mail applications to the Teacher of the Year point of contact listed on this page.

2016 Idaho Teacher of the Year Announcement


2016 Teacher of the Year - Melyssa Ferro

Melyssa Ferro Photo

The Idaho State Department of Education is excited to have Melyssa Ferro as the 2016 Idaho Teacher of the Year.  Ms. Ferro has been an educator for 16 years and has spent 15 years in her current position at the Caldwell School District.  As a life and earth science teacher for seventh and eighth grade students, she has the opportunity to positively influence them in STEM content during a time when so many students turn away from a career in these fields.  She takes the time to build partnerships with the local community college to provide exciting extracurricular activities.  She takes students on extended field trips, such as to Yellowstone National Park and Florida, to explore science in its element.  Her science lab flutters with activity all day long with critically-thinking students checking on the many ongoing experiments spanning multiple scientific disciplines.  She uses many place-based resources to attach meaning to classroom content.

As a natural leader she mentors other teachers, both inside her own school and on the state level, inspires others to meet her expectations, and leads by example in her personal life through community volunteering.

When asked what message she would like to send as a representative of the entire teaching profession, she said she would like to impart a message of responsibility, to have others find their connection to the ecosystem, and decide how they can have the most impact.   Specifically she said, to teachers: bring passion and enthusiasm to the learning process; to students: become the owner of your own learning; to the families of our students: push your children to persevere in the face of adversity; and, to our communities and stakeholders: put your resources to work.  

Ms. Ferro has received numerous other awards for her outstanding work with students.  They include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching National Finalist (2013), Caldwell School District Teacher of the Year (2015), Syringa Middle School Teacher of the Year (2006-7, 2014-15), and Region III Outstanding Secondary Science Teacher of the Year from the Idaho Science Teacher Association (2007-08).

As Idaho's Teacher of the Year, Ms. Ferro will:

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

Congratulations Melyssa Ferro!