News

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012

Illinois Educator Selected as Finalist for National History Teacher of the Year


Joshua Bill of Waukegan High School one of five up for award

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois History Teacher of the Year Joshua Bill of Waukegan has been named as one of five finalists for The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s 2012 National History Teacher of the Year 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’re thrilled to share this news, though I’m sure his students are not surprised to hear that Joshua Bill is a finalist for this prestigious honor,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Bringing history to life for students is a remarkable talent, and Joshua has clearly demonstrated he is a gifted educator.”

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 National History Teacher of the Year will be named this fall and will receive a $10,000 award and a trip, along with two of his or her students, to the national award ceremony.

“We are pleased to announce these finalists, first identified by nominations submitted from around the country, and now selected as the most remarkable in the nation from the group of 50-plus state winners,” said Lesley Herrmann, Executive Director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. “Each of them represents the very best teaching that this country has to offer, and they should be celebrated for their accomplishments.”

The other four candidates for the 2012 National History Teacher of the Year are Ted Dickson of Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C., Amy Perruso of Mililani High School in Hawaii, Julian Hipkins III of Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and Jan McClaren of Claremore High School in Claremore, Okla.

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. Top teachers are selected at the state level and then are considered for the national award. Nominations can be made by students, parents, colleagues, supervisors or other education professionals. To be considered for the 2013 award, K-6 teachers must be nominated by Feb. 1, 2013. For more information about the nomination process for 2013, visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy.

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 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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