For more than 50 years our nation has honored teachers with the National Teacher of the Year Program . The National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the Voya Financial, Inc., is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Since 1970, North Carolina has participated in this program recognizing outstanding teachers.

In 2014, the NC Department of Public Instruction announced their partnership with Burroughs Wellcome Fund as the new major sponsor of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program. Burroughs Wellcome Fund was founded in 1955 as the corporate foundation of Burroughs Wellcome Co., the U.S. branch of the Wellcome pharmaceutical enterprise, based in the United Kingdom. In 1993, BWF received a $400 million gift from the Wellcome Trust to become a fully independent foundation. They are dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities.


Bobbie J. Cavnar, 9-12 English and Journalism teacher at South Point High School in Gaston County Schools is the 2016 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Teacher of the Year

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From Left to Right: Margaret C. McNeill    Leah Hayes   Marie Smith    Angel Ledbetter    Bobbie J. Cavnar    Olivia W. Hall    Brandon Brown    Kevin Scharen    Katie Snyder

From Left to Right: NC Teachers of the Year and Sponsors    L to R: Margaret C. McNeil, (North Central)    Leah Hayes (Northwest)    Marie Smith (Northeast)    Angel Ledbetter (Western)    Bobbie J. Cavnar (Southwest)    Dr. John E. Burris (Burroughs Wellcome Fund)    Olivia W. Hall (Sandhills)    Brandon Brown (Charters)    Kevin Scharen (Piedmont-Triad)    Katie Snyder (Southeast)

From Left to Right: Keana C. Triplett, 2015 NC Teacher of the Year    Bobbie J. Cavnar, 2016 NC Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Bobbie J. Cavnar (2016 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year)


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Marie Smith
Marie Smith
Region I - Northeast Region
Northampton County Schools
Conway Middle
Katie Snyder
Katie Snyder
Region II - Southeast Region
New Hanover County Schools
John T. Hoggard High
Margaret C. McNeill
Margaret C. McNeill
Region III - North Central Region
Harnett County Schools
Dunn Middle

Olivia Hall
Olivia Hall
Region IV - Sandhills/South Central Region
Sampson County Schools
Roseboro-Salemburg Midddle
Kevin Scharen
Kevin Scharen
Region V - Piedmont-Triad/Central Region
Alamance-Burlington Schools
Alamance-Burlington Early College at ACC
Bobbie J. Cavnar
Bobbie J. Cavnar
2016 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Teacher of the Year
Region VI - Southwest Region
Gaston County Schools
South Point High

Leah Hayes
Leah Hayes
Region VII - Northwest Region
Newton-Conover City Schools
South Newton Elementary
Angel Ledbetter
Angel Ledbetter
Region VIII - Western Region
Rutherford County Schools
Rutherford Early College High
Brandon Brown
Brandon Brown
Charter Schools Region
Lake Norman Charter School
Huntersville, NC



In accordance with national guidelines, North Carolina chooses a candidate who is "dedicated and highly skilled, a candidate proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn." Because the State Teacher of the Year will be asked to travel, speak on behalf of education and demonstrate master teaching skills, the candidate must be poised, articulate, and energetic in order to meet the demanding responsibilities.

The program recognizes teachers at the school, local, regional, and statewide levels. First, individuals are chosen to represent their respective schools as Teacher of the Year, then they advance to compete at the district level. Once the district selections have been made, the winners vie as one of the state's nine Regional Teachers of the Year. This selection process is facilitated in each region by Regional Education Facilitators representing the Educator Effectiveness Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Similarly, individual charter schools nominate Teachers of the Year who participate in a selection process facilitated by the Office of Charter Schools at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Charter Schools are clustered together to form the ninth region of the state. After the district and charter school nomination processes are completed, the Charter School Teacher of the Year joins the Regional Teachers of the Year team as a finalist for the state Teacher of the Year.

After a series of relevant screening activities, the State Teacher of the Year is chosen by a committee consisting of professional educators as well business and community leaders. The state selection committee members are chosen based on their dynamic public record in support of education. The State Teacher of the Year and the other Regional Finalists form a collaborative network to provide ongoing professional development and support throughout the state on critical issues facing public education. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education take pride in celebrating the most innovative and effective public school educators in our state.

In the 46 years of the program in North Carolina, three State Teachers of the Year have become National winners. Four have become National Finalists and one has been inducted into the National Teachers' Hall of Fame. Twelve North Carolina Teachers of the Year have taught at the elementary school level, eight at the middle or junior high school level and twenty-six at the high school level.