The road to becoming Colorado’s Teacher of the Year is a little like applying to college.

There are six essays to write, three letters of recommendation to run down, a one-minute YouTube video to create—and if you advance far enough, an interview with the selection committee in Denver.

Not only are candidates expected to describe their teaching philosophies and accomplishments, they’re asked share their opinions on the the major education issues of the day.

On Friday, six of the 33 applicants who started the lengthy process were named finalists for the statewide award: two high school teachers, two second-grade teachers, an English Language Learning teacher, and a gifted and talented facilitator.

One of the six will be named the state’s teacher of the year on Nov. 1 and move on to the National Teacher of the Year contest.

The statewide award is meant to recognize an outstanding teacher and mint an education ambassador who will be speak for the profession and be involved in education reform.

Last year’s Colorado Teacher of the Year was Leticia Guzman Ingram, an English language development coordinator, history and math teacher at Basalt High School in the Roaring Fork School District.

Here are this year’s finalists — and their one-minute YouTube sales pitches:

Jeremy Beckman
Math teacher and speech and debate coach, Discovery Canyon Campus High School in Academy District 20

Melanie Holts
Second grade teacher Falcon Elementary School of Technology in Falcon School District 49

Lisa Lee
Gifted and Talented facilitator at Wheat Ridge High School in Jeffco Public Schools

Carina Raetz
English Language Learning lead teacher at Carver Elementary School in Colorado Springs School District 11

Jodi Simpson
Second grade teacher at Paonia Elementary School in the Delta County School District

Sean Wybrant
Career and technical education teacher at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs District 11