- Associated Press - Saturday, March 14, 2015

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - Vermont is taking nominations for the 2016 teacher of the year.

Members of the public and educators may nominate candidates online through April 10 at www.surveymonkey.com/s/TOY2016.

The mission of the program is to promote the teaching profession and to recognize educators who are modeling “best practices” in Vermont’s schools, the Vermont Agency of Education said. The teacher of the year serves as an advocate for Vermont’s teachers, students and education system.

“Public education is the foundation of democracy, and it is our moral imperative to make it available to every child, starting in the formative years,” said Rebecca Haslam, the 2015 Vermont Teacher of the Year. “We need to fully fund early childhood education, close the opportunity gap, and provide equal access to a foundation of success for all children,” said Haslam, a Champlain Elementary School teacher and district social studies and equity curriculum coach for grades K-5.

The nominees for top teacher much have a current Vermont teaching license, at least five years teaching experience and be employed by a Vermont public, private, or approved independent school.

More information about the program can be found on the Vermont Education Agency’s website at education.vermont.gov/department/awards/teacher-of-the-year.

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