News

For Immediate Release
December 31, 2012

Illinois Educator from Waukegan High School Wins 2012 National History Teacher of the Year


Application process under way for 2013 award

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois History Teacher of the Year Joshua Bill of Waukegan High School is now the 2012 National History Teacher of the Year. He was one of five finalists for The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s Award. The Illinois State Board of Education is a partner in the award program, which is co-sponsored by the HISTORY channel and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation through its Preserve America program.

“We are very excited that Joshua Bill will represent Illinois as the National History Teacher of the Year. Illinois is a state rich with history, from Lewis and Clark to Lincoln, and now our current president,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This is a prestigious honor that clearly demonstrates Joshua’s ability to bring history to life for his students.”

For the national honor, Joshua Bill received $10,000 and traveled to New York City in December, where Caroline Kennedy presented the award to him. Joshua was named Illinois History Teacher of the Year in May after nominations were sent to the Illinois State Board of Education and a selection committee chose the Waukegan High School teacher for the honor, thus qualifying him for the national competition. Waukegan High is part of Waukegan Public School District 60, about 45 miles north of Chicago.

Joshua, who has taught at WHS since 2004, was also the recipient of the 2012 Olive Foster Outstanding Teacher Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. His accomplishments include leading his students to success at the Chicago Metro History Fair and the National History Day competition. He also serves as a coach for the We the People Simulated Congressional Hearings Competitions and mentors young teachers through his alma mater, Lake Forest College. In addition, Joshua partners with the Waukegan Historical Society, giving his students the opportunity to conduct research for projects.

The History Teacher of the Year Award alternates each year to honor K-6 teachers one year and those teaching grades 7-12 the next. Nominations can be made by students, parents, colleagues, supervisors or other education professionals. The national winner is chosen from a pool of winners from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and Department of Defense Schools. Each state honoree receives $1,000 and an archive of books and resources from Gilder Lehrman and HISTORY for his or her school’s library.

The Illinois State Board of Education is now seeking nominations for the 2013 Illinois History Teacher of the Year Award. In 2013, the Gilder Lehrman Institute will honor an elementary teacher of grades K-6. To be considered for the 2013 award, K-6 teachers must be nominated by Feb. 1, 2013. To nominate a teacher and learn more about the award, visit http://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year-nomination-form or contact the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year coordinator at (646) 366-9666 or nhtoy@gilderlehrman.org. You may also contact the state coordinator, Mike Hatfill of the Illinois State Board of Education, at (217) 524-4832 or dhatfill@isbe.net.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. Preserve America, a federal partnership program started in 2003, is led by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and encourages community efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of the United States, as well as associated natural resources. HISTORY offers programming on a variety of historical genres, from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture.

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