Time is running out to nominate teachers for the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year, as those nominations close Friday, Jan. 31. Each year, exceptional teachers are honored in up to 19 regions across the state, with Oregon’s Teacher of the Year selected from among those regional finalists. The Teacher of the Year program was created to recognize exemplary public-school educators — Oregon teachers who inspire students and make a positive impact in the communities in which they live. The award celebrates knowledge, dedication, innovation and leadership. Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the Oregon Teacher of the Year receives a gift award of $5,000 as well as a special fund to cover all travel costs for the year. In addition, a matching gift of $5,000 goes to the Teacher of the Year’s school. The winner also receives gifts and recognition from the Council of Chief State School Officers, founder of the National Teacher of the Year Program. Finalists and their school both receive a $2,000 cash award, and regional winners each receive $500 as a part of the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Know a great teacher? Fill out the nomination form at oregonteacheroftheyear.org to share what makes them exceptional! You will also find more information about the Oregon Teacher of the Year program and learn about 2020 Teacher of the Year Mercedes Munoz from Portland’s Franklin High School at that site.