For Immediate Release
October 4, 2007

Illinois celebrates World Teachers’ Day; Rockford educator named 2007 History Teacher of the Year

ISBE to honor Illinois’ outstanding teachers at annual Those Who Excel banquet

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is urging students, parents and administrators to celebrate World Teachers’ Day on Friday, October 5, by honoring teachers that have and are making a difference in their lives. Rockford educator, Theresa Bartsch, will be honored as the 2007 Illinois History Teacher of the Year on World Teachers’ Day during the annual Illinois Council for the Social Studies Convention in Lisle. Later this month, the State Board of Education will honor more than 150 outstanding individuals for their service to education during the 33rd annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet on October 13.

“World Teachers’ Day is a unique opportunity to say thank-you to teachers for their dedication to make all students successful life long learners,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “I congratulate all of our teachers for the important work they do both inside and outside the classroom.”

World Teachers’ Day is an annual event sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is an opportunity to communicate to the public that teachers are valuable professionals whose dedication directly affects the future of our world. More than 100 countries observe World Teachers’ Day annually.

“Being an educator is one of the most important occupations in the world. Teachers have the unique opportunity to make an impression upon the life of every child in the country. Our teachers are the gatekeepers of knowledge,” said 2006-2007 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Joe Fatheree. Fatheree is a technology teacher at Effingham High School in the Effingham Unit 40 School District. “As a teacher, you truly have the power to make a difference.”

Bartsch is a fifth-grade teacher at Maud E. Johnson Elementary School in Rockford Public School District 205. An educator for more than 12 years, Bartsch has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and history from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix, in addition to over 15 hours of additional graduate work from Drake University, Northern Illinois University and Aurora University.

“History has always been an integral part of my classroom. All the stories and drama in history make it an addicting subject to teach,” said Bartsch of Winnebago. “Winning the award has inspired me to do even more with my students to help them step into history.”

The history teacher of the year program is sponsored by ISBE in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America and honors experienced teachers who are dedicated to sharing with students an understanding of America’s past. As the state winner, Bartsch 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. Her school library will receive a core archive of history books and materials.

The Illinois 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year will be announced during the Those Who Excel awards banquet Saturday, October 13, at the Decatur Conference and Convention Center. The Teacher of the Year represents Illinois at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and in the National Teacher of the Year Program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and ING.

Illinois teacher facts at a glance: