For Immediate Release
March 29, 2007

Illinois History Teacher of the Year program accepting nominations

Award recognizes dedication to students and American history

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that nominations are being sought for the annual Illinois History Teacher of the Year Award. The award honors experienced teachers who are dedicated to sharing with students an understanding of America’s past. The history teacher of the year program is sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America.

“It is important that our students understand where America has been so that they can lead us into the future,” Interim State Superintendent Christopher Koch said. “This is an opportunity to nominate a favorite history teacher, one who has made a difference in the lives of their students and is passionate about their sharing their subject.”

The 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-6 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, artifacts, historic sites, and the other primary materials of history.

The state winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium and will be in the running for the National History Teacher of the Year award to be selected this fall. His or her school library will receive a core archive of history books and materials.

The 2006 Illinois History Teacher of the Year was Marcella Vancil, a teacher at Flossie Wiley Elementary School in Urbana. Kristy Lynn Caywood of A. Vito Martinez Middle School in Romeoville was the 2005 Illinois History Teacher of the Year.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with Preserve America, inaugurated the award in 2004.

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history. Increasingly national and international in scope, the Institute targets audiences ranging from students to scholars to the general public. It creates history-centered schools and academic research centers, organizes seminars and enrichment programs for educators, partners with school districts to implement Teaching American History grants, produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, and sponsors lectures by eminent historians. The Institute also funds awards including the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and George Washington Book Prizes and offers fellowships for scholars to work in history archives, including the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past and increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets.

The deadline to submit a nomination for the Illinois History Teacher of the year is Monday, April 9, 2007. For more information, contact John Craig, Illinois Coordinator, at 217-782-4823 or