|For Immediate Release
September 26, 2006
Urbana teacher named Illinois History Teacher of the
Marcella (Marcy) Vancil, a teacher at Flossie Wiley
Elementary School in Urbana, Illinois, is this year’s “Illinois
History Teacher of the Year,” sponsored
by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America.
Inaugurated in 2004, the National History Teacher of
the Year Award is designed to promote and celebrate the
teaching of American history in classrooms across the
United States. It honors one exceptional K-12 teacher
of American history from each state and U.S. territory.
The selection of the state winner is based upon several
criteria, including experience in teaching American history
for at least three years; a deep career commitment to
teaching American history; evidence of creativity and
imagination in the classroom; and close attention to
documents. “This award gives us the chance to recognize
great history teachers across the country,” said
Lesley Herrmann, Executive Director of the Gilder Lehrman
Institute of American History. “It puts exceptional
educators front and center.”
Vancil has been teaching
for 32 years (kindergarten through 4th grade) and has
taught at Wiley School for 16 years. Her past awards
include being named
to the 2005 All-USA Teacher Team by USA Today, a Disney Teacher of The Year
(1994), and a finalist for Illinois Teacher Of The Year by the Illinois State
Board of Education (2003). She is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
“Marcy Vancil is the kind of teacher who truly
enjoys what she does in the classroom each day and has
brought history to life for many, many students through
the years,” said John Craig of the Illinois State
Board of Education, who participated in the selection
process on behalf of ISBE.
Vancil earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary/early
childhood education from Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, completed her student teaching assignment
in Scotland, earned a master’s degree in curriculum
and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
and achieved National Board Certification in 1998.
Vancil has been the primary subject of eight doctoral
theses and is featured in several professional books.
Since 1996, she has been collecting data on how young
children construct understandings of history and how
to deepen these understandings. She immerses students
in yearlong thematic units of early America, incorporating
academic subjects, primary documents, artifacts, family
stories and first person interpretation. This year started
with students turning the classroom into a time machine
to travel to early America, where they will portray characters
from the Mayflower passenger list. They will eat hardtack
and dried beef on the voyage, become apprentices in Colonial
Williamsburg, as well as research and write journals
telling history from a first-person perspective.