Delaware’s Teacher of the Year award is around the corner.

The 20 teachers, selected from among 9,000 public school teachers in the state, represent one of the state’s 19 school districts and a network of charter schools. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the annual awards banquet.

The reception begins at 5 p.m. at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover.

The program begins at 6 p.m. with the winner named at the end of the night. Funding for the award ceremony is made in part by grants from Voya Financial and Hope Street Group.

The candidates were nominated by their districts or the charter network during the 2016 calendar year.

Each nominee submitted a detailed portfolio exemplifying his or her teaching philosophy. Five Delaware Department of Education staff members independently evaluate each portfolio. A former state Teacher of the Year and a member of the department staff also visit each candidate’s classroom to observe his or her teaching.   

Taking into consideration the ratings from the portfolio review and classroom observation, another independent panel of non-department judges then selects the one teacher who will serve as the 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year. The teacher chosen to become the State Teacher of the Year will become Delaware’s nominee in the national program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with Voya Financial.

The Delaware Teacher of the Year also takes on the important task of representing all teachers in the state, addressing community groups, business leaders, legislators and educational organizations to inform the public about education in Delaware.

By action of the General Assembly, the Delaware Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of his or her students, as well as a personal grant of $3,000.  Additionally, all nominees will receive a $2,000 grant from the state. Voya also has added a $5,000 gift for the state winner this year.

This year’s nominees include:

Olivia A. Suchanec:  Sixth grade social studies teacher at Appoquinimink School District’s Everett Meredith Middle School Wendy Turner:  Second grade teacher at Brandywine School District’s Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Melissa Rapp: Ninth grade history teacher at Caesar Rodney School District’s Caesar Rodney High School Melissa Dawson: First grade teacher at Cape Henlopen School District’s Rehoboth Elementary School Michele Johnson: Gifted & talented/library media specialist Capital School District’s Towne Point Elementary Kristin E. Roberts: K to 2 special education at Christina School District’s Bancroft Elementary School Sarah Bateman: Third grade Colonial School District’s New Castle Elementary Kristen Jones: Fifth and eighth grade business education teacher at Delmar School District’s Delmar Middle School. Melissa L. Grise: Fourth grade teacher at Indian River School District’s John M. Clayton Elementary Heather M. Melvin: First grade teacher at Lake Forest School District’s Lake Forest North Elementary Emily Edmonds-Eveland: Fourth grade teacher at Las Americas ASPIRA Academy Charter School. Erin Brennan: Second grade teacher at Laurel School District’s North Laurel Elementary School Julie A. Hickman: Fifth grade teacher Milford School District’s Mispillion Elementary Jermaine Anthony Williams: Culinary arts and co-op coordinator at New Castle County Vo-Tech School District’s St. Georges Technical High School Dennis J. Haley: 9 to 12 Computer engineering technology teacher at POLYTECH School District’s POLYTECH High School Holly M. Golder:  Eight and twelfth grade social studies teacher at Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Cab Calloway School of the Arts Nikki Bean: First grade teacher at Seaford School District’s Blades Elementary School VJennifer McCutchan: Seven and eight grade music teacher at Smyrna School District’s Smyrna Middle School. Vincent James Colombo: Nine and tenth grade physical science and biology teacher at Sussex Technical School District’s Sussex Technical High School James R. Weiler: Nine and eleventh grade English language arts teacher at Woodbridge School District’s Woodbridge High School