The Yavapai County Education Foundation (YCEF) Board, in a unanimous vote Wednesday, March 25, agreed to cancel the 2020 Teacher of the Year Banquet and, instead, recognize each of twelve finalists with a monetary award. This unprecedented move was triggered by the current COVID-19 virus and cautions by the CDC against large gatherings.
The Teacher of the Year Banquet is a highly acclaimed event held every spring to honor exemplary Yavapai County teachers chosen from a group of very excellent teachers of our county. All nominees, finalists, category winners and overall Teacher of the Year are recognized. This year, in light of widespread precautions, the YCEF Board voted to stop the selection process after identifying 12 finalists. The finalists will each receive a cash award of $500 and a plaque recognizing that they were chosen as outstanding in their profession.
Typically, the Yavapai Education Foundation annually honors teachers who exemplify excellence in the profession of teaching. Candidates are nominated by their respective schools and complete a rigorous application process, including essays to express their passion and views on teaching. The applications are reviewed by judges, who select 12 finalists, three in each of the four grade level categories: K-2nd grades, 3rd-5th grades, 6th-8th grades, and high school. From the category winners, an overall teacher of the year is selected. The announcement of names is a closely held secret, announced only at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet. Over the years this event has been graciously sponsored by several of Yavapai County’s major employers and service groups, including Lamb Chevrolet, Freeport-McMoRan, BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, and Sunup Rotary Club of Prescott.
The Yavapai County Teacher of the Year is expected to represent all teachers of Yavapai County in community outreach events and is the ‘face’ of the County education community for the following year. At the annual Christmas Parade in Prescott, the overall Teacher of the Year and category winners are presented to the public on a float, and traditionally receive wide acclaim by the audience. This year the 12 finalists will share these responsibilities as 2020 Co-Teachers of the Year.