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A high school diploma is an important step in preparing our youth to achieve independence, financial security and happiness. However, one quarter of high school students – more than one million students each year – drop out of school before earning their diploma.

Each day, educators must find new, creative ways to engage and educate students in order to reduce the dropout rate. In support of America’s teachers, Voya Financial is proud to be a presenting sponsor of the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program, which recognizes and honors the contributions of teachers across the country.

Each year, chief state school officers from across the country are invited to nominate a candidate from their state or jurisdiction. NTOY candidates are expected to be dedicated and highly skilled teachers in any state-approved or accredited school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, who are planning to maintain an active teaching status. Following the selection of four finalists by a national committee, individual interviews are conducted in Washington D.C., and a national winner is chosen. The selection process culminates in a ceremony at the White House, where the National Teacher of the Year is recognized among his or her peers by the President of the United States.

To learn more about the NTOY program, visit the National Teacher of the Year web site. Press materials on past winners are available here.