Sample Teacher of the Year Recommendation Letter

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  • 0:01 Teacher of the Year
  • 1:37 Sample Letter
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Recommending a colleague to be Teacher of the Year is an important responsibility and can also be a lot of fun! This lesson offers you an example of what your letter of recommendation might look like.

Teacher of the Year

Once in a while, as teachers, we come upon colleagues who are truly outstanding at their work. When this happens, it is a privilege to recommend them to receive awards, such as Teacher of the Year. Often, such an award or recognition involves letters of recommendation from peers that provide specific, relevant examples to persuade reviewers to honor a nominee.

While it can be great fun to recommend a colleague for recognition, it can also be a challenge. You may feel like singing a colleague's praises, but it's important to strike a balanced, professional tone. You want to provide specific examples keyed to the award criteria that really bring your colleague to life for an audience of readers who may not know your colleague personally. You can choose the best examples by doing your homework, for example, by reviewing the award criteria and your colleague's resume.

The sample letter of recommendation in this lesson shows what your letter might look like and gives you a sense of the general attributes that make a teacher recommendation letter successful. Your letter should include the following:

  • Opening statement of recommendation
  • Description of how you are familiar with your colleague's work
  • Discussion of why your colleague deserves the recognition
  • Closing statement of recommendation

Obviously, you will want to customize this general letter to reflect specifics about your colleague and the award criteria. For example, you might add student achievement metrics, evidence of her students' parents' support for the school (e.g., volunteering), and a specific challenge that she helped a colleague meet.

Sample Letter

(Internal Address)


Dear Principal Hooray,

It is my privilege to recommend my colleague, Kate Jones, to receive the Teacher of the Year Award for our district. Kate has been teaching second grade at Cheerful Elementary for the last fifteen years, and I have been fortunate to know her for eight of those years. In that time, I have worked with Kate as a grade level colleague. We have served together on the Diversity Committee at our school, and we have planned events for building community at our school. Kate has also been a mentor to me, sharing her curriculum plans, helping me build my lessons and develop my practice, and inviting me into her professional world. Because I know Kate's work so well, I am convinced that she deserves this honor.

Kate is one of those teachers you come across once in a great while. She is popular with students, families, and colleagues.

Students love her because she is kind, loving, fun, and cares about them. Kate gets to know every student in her class as a whole person. Kate is able to see exactly what each child brings to the community, and her whole teaching approach involves finding and using children's unique strengths to help them overcome their struggles and develop a positive self-concept.

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