Ohio Department of Education Topic News

Tim Dove named 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year


“I still love to teach,” says Tim Dove, the 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year and a 29-year classroom veteran.

A seventh-grade social studies teacher at Phoenix Middle School, Dove has spent his career in Worthington City Schools.

In February, the State Board of Education recognized Dove for his extraordinary accomplishments. Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle had earlier announced the award at a surprise school assembly in December.

Tim Dove, 2011 Ohio Teacher 
of the Year

State Board President Robin Hovis applauded Dove’s “outstanding accomplishments in the classroom. We know you will be an inspiration as you travel the state in the coming year.”

Superintendent  Delisle said that Dove embodies the motto of Worthington schools:Absolute Excellence, Exponential Impact.

Dove was one of the architects on the “dream team” that helped to create Phoenix Middle School. A group of teachers were asked to “dream of your ideal school that is right for kids.”

Dove and his colleagues created a school with a lengthened day that includes mastery grading, a wellness program, parent forums, an independent reading program, a global cultures class, a student forum, advisory groups and discovery days.

Tim Dove acknowledges his students at a school assembly where he was named 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year by Superintendent Deb Delisle (r).

Through the eyes of colleagues

Tim Dove has made quite an impact on his students, their families and fellow teachers.

One colleague wrote in glowing terms:

 “It occurred to me that his love for jazz is a perfect metaphor for his teaching. I began to think about all the ways a jazz musician makes “magic” happen: composing, risk-taking, collaborating,

improvising and, most importantly, celebrating the music for its own sake . . . Very simply, he is about the work of celebrating human potential, just as a jazz player is about celebrating the music. Those of us who are playing along with him – both students and colleagues – are all the richer for it.”

Phoenix Middle School Principal Jeff Maddox said: “It is always a pleasure to work with someone of stature, a person who is exceptional in their discipline, someone who has the natural desire to learn and the effortless ability to lead people. Tim embodies all of these qualities.”

And Worthington Schools Superintendent Melissa Conrath wrote: “(He) truly is an outstanding teacher and is one of the most respected staff members in the Worthington School District due to his passion and dedication to his students.”

Philosophy of education

Dove told state board members that people “talk about reform movements but I would just call it good teaching.”

According to Dove, each student has special gifts, concerns, issues, previous knowledge and a baseline curiosity. He believes his job is to tap into these

Tim Dove, center, holds resolution from the State Board of Education. Joining him are, left to right, President Rob Hovis, Member Todd Jones, Principal Jeff Maddox, Superintendent Deb Delisle, Members Dennis Reardon and Kristen McKinley.

inherent abilities to enable his kids to be successful in a wide spectrum of situations.

“The classroom must feel ‘safe’ to allow students to feel comfortable in risking their ideas,” Dove said. “I want my kids to risk their ideas and their vocabulary in their writing as well.”

Dove believes that “maintaining a vibrant educational profession is critical to the success of our kids – and the globe.” He lives that belief as a field professor and prolific writer as well as a frequent presenter at local, state, national and international conferences.

Tim Dove's students participate in lesson on global culture.

Community work and academic success

Outside of school, he volunteers his time and talents in the community as a little league baseball coach and is active in his church.


Dove is a graduate of Miami University with a bachelor’s of science in education with a concentration in social studies. He earned his master’s degree from The Ohio State University and has completed post-graduate work in Social Studies Education and Global Studies.

Teacher of the Year Finalists
The 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year was selected from nominations submitted by schools across the state. Nominations were reviewed by a statewide panel of representatives from a wide range of professional organizations and school constituencies – including teachers who have been recognized for their excellent performance in the classroom.

The review panel chose four finalists and interviewed each of them before selecting Dove. The three other finalists for the 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year are:

  • Kellie Ehlers, Evening Street Elementary School, Worthington City Schools;
  • Laura Griffin, Fairfield West Elementary School, Fairfield City School District; and
  • Jayson Yeagley, Columbiana High School, Columbiana Exempted Village School District ;

The Ohio Teacher of the Year program was initiated by ODE in 1969 to honor and promote excellence in teaching and the teaching profession and to build a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in school improvement initiatives.