But district officials have told teachers that the interview process won't begin until this month or next.
Teacher Sean Martin amassed a portfolio of testimonials, test scores and videotapes of his classroom lessons illustrating why he should be classified as a model teacher.
However, some teachers said they believe that the reward for obtaining model status is worth the wait.
"The system that they designed is there for teachers to own up to their own development, and financial benefits come with that," said Nathan Carlberg, a language arts teacher. "Getting those benefits or not doesn't change the fact that I want to teach, that I want to work in schools — and it shouldn't for anybody."
The contract also introduced a system designed to reward teachers with credits called "achievement units" that would factor into teacher evaluations and compensation. Immediately, under the contract, teachers were able to bank graduate credits and evaluations from previous years.
Once teachers obtain 12 achievement units, they move up a pay grade.
Under the contract, teachers were also supposed to be awarded the achievement units for starting clubs, planning field trips and pursuing professional development opportunities.
However, the district is grappling with what extracurricular and professional activities merit the credits, and frustration is mounting as teachers say activities they thought would earn them credits have been rejected or are still being debated.
English teacher and baseball coach Mark Miazga said that he voted for the contract last year because he liked the idea of rewarding teachers for their pursuits beyond taking graduate classes. But he has yet to find out whether his athletes' study hall or his attendance at a national conference for English teachers will count.
"We feel that they're 'abstraction units,' because no one really knows what they are or how to get them," Miazga said. "They sold the contract to us as a way to reward teachers who were going above and beyond, and we're not really being rewarded at all."
School officials acknowledged the frustration surrounding the achievement units but said the purpose is to encourage rigorous and innovative practices linked to student achievement. They said the system has to be judicious in awarding the credits because it affects a teachers' life earnings.
School and union officials maintain that many of the contract's goals have been realized.
Under the new contract, for instance, teachers immediately saw a pay raise for the first time in two years and a signing stipend.
However, the union won a class action grievance last month against the district, resulting in some teachers getting additional pay. District officials said they were willing to give teachers raises and that the grievance was over the timing of when they would be paid.
English said she has also seen the contract encourage teachers to become more engaged. Every teacher received a placement on the new career ladder last year, though the standards for how some teachers can move up the ladder is still being debated.
She said those who were "waiting for retirement" or who were "out of the game, are now involved in the work" that will move them up the career ladder.
Tisha Edwards, chief of staff for the district, said teachers "have a right to be frustrated because we set up timelines that were not realistic," but added that it was important for them not to judge the contract's success after only one year.
Edwards said the district has demonstrated its ability to carry out the contract.
"The biggest lesson learned is that when you are starting something really bold, you need to give yourself more time," Edwards said.
"But the only way that we can have a contract that positively impacts our children and raises the bar for our teachers is to make sure that it's done right in the long term, and that we don't succumb to the anxiety of the short term."