(FRANKFORT, Ky.) –The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Inc., sponsors of the Kentucky Teacher Awards, have adopted a new schedule for the awards. The new timetable will provide the Teacher of the Year more flexibility in taking a sabbatical and preparing for the national Teacher of the Year awards.

With the change, nominations are now open for the 2018 Kentucky Teacher Awards and may be submitted electronically by visiting the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year website. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 1.

Any full-time public school teacher in the state with at least three years of experience is eligible. Teachers may be nominated by students, parents, teaching peers, principals, superintendents or anyone from the community who has an interest in honoring an outstanding educator.

All nominated teachers are required to complete a formal application, which must be submitted by Feb. 20. Judging will take place in March by a blue ribbon panel of education professionals from around the state; up to 24 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award winners will be announced in May.

Following site visits with nine semifinalists in April and personal interviews with the top three candidates, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be announced in Frankfort. At that time, all 24 teachers will be honored with cash awards and other mementos. Teacher Achievement Award winners will receive a cash gift of $500; two of the three finalists will receive a cash gift of $3,000; and the Teacher of the Year will receive a cash prize of $10,000, along with an exciting sabbatical opportunity. The Kentucky Teacher of the Year then will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Now in its 17th year, the Kentucky Teacher Awards program is an innovative collaboration between private industry and public education.