Teacher of the Year

STEM teachers shape the future of our nation – introducing students to exciting new concepts and offering a glimpse into what’s possible. The very best educators transform learning into a boundless adventure and prepare their classes to explore new frontiers of technology for the good of us all. Along with grants and scholarships, the Air & Space Forces Association believes that recognizing those who educate America’s youth is an important aspect of what AFA is all about. Every year, AFA’s Teacher of the Year program sponsored by Rolls-Royce proudly honors the commitment and achievements of these extraordinary teachers.

AFA’s 2023 National Teacher of the Year is Bill McInnish of Melbourne, Florida. Nominated by the Space Coast Chapter, Bill spent 22 years serving in the military before joining the education field in 1994. With a focus on practical applications of STEM concepts, Bill sees his role as moving beyond merely educating. His dedication and inspiration have yielded significant success, with many of his students going on to careers with leading technology businesses. Bill is one of the many exceptional teachers AFA recognizes annually.

Learn more about AFA’s 2023 National TOY Bill McInnish

Learn more about first runner up Ty White

Learn more about second runner up Colleen Cain

Hear from 2019 TOY Michael Vargas on how this award has affected his life and career

See how 2015 TOY Mark Westlake is assisting in the fight against COVID-19

2014 Teacher of the Year now Space Center University Director at Space Center Houston

Mary Anne Thompson – Susan Mallett National Teacher of the Year


The Thompson-Mallett National Teacher of the Year award is presented to a dedicated K-12 educator and AFA State Teacher of the Year winner. This honor recognizes STEM educators for their outstanding classroom performance, collaborative initiatives, educational outreach, leadership, and significant impact in the school and community. The Thompson-Mallett National Teacher of the Year will receive a $3,000 award, plaque, and gold pin. First and second runners-up receive $2,000 and $1,000.

Guidelines Criteria

To be eligible the candidate must be submitted by their respective AFA State leaders. The candidate must be a former AFA State Teacher of the Year selected during the most recent past two years. Applications must be submitted by the deadline of June 30.

State Teacher of the Year


The State Teacher of the Year award honors exemplary K-12 educators and Chapter Teacher of the Year winners at the AFA State level who make a profound difference in the lives of their students and in their community. State Teachers of the Year will receive $500, an AFA jacket, a certificate, and a pin.

Guidelines and Criteria

To be eligible the AFA State candidate must be a current AFA Chapter Teacher of Year. The deadline for nomination submissions is April 30.

Chapter Teacher of the Year


Local AFA chapters select one Teacher of the Year for this award, which salutes those classroom educators who steer their students toward greatness in STEM fields. Chapter Teachers of the Year receive $250, a certificate, padfolio, window decal, pin, and complimentary Civil Air Patrol membership.

Guidelines and Criteria

Chapters may select one TOY from any grade level (K-12) for submission to AFA National to receive award components. If the chapter wishes to recognize more than one Chapter TOYs, they may do so but would need to contact AFA National to purchase additional Chapter TOY award components. The deadline for nomination submission is April 30.

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