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​The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) invites you to nominate a member of your local school board for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award, which is presented annually to an outstanding member of an Illinois school board. 
This award was created in 1991 in memory of late ISBE Chairman Tom Burroughs and is presented each November at a conference hosted jointly by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), the Illinois Association of School Administrators, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.  That conference, which is normally held in November, has been canceled this year, so the awardee will be recognized at the November ISBE meeting.  

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level, especially through characteristics similar to those shown by Mr. Burroughs. The criteria for this award recognize the following three areas of accomplishment: 

  • Personal leadership in improving student learning, closing achievement gaps, and supporting educational excellence; and/or 
  • Personal leadership in expanding educational opportunities for underserved students; and/or 
  • Personal leadership in resolving a crisis or major difficulty with the result of more equitable outcomes for students.
For the purpose of this award, leadership is defined as including group skills, such as consensus building and teamwork, and individual traits, such as vision, courage, integrity, etc. 

If you are fortunate enough to have a board member who has provided outstanding leadership in one or all of these areas, we hope you will submit a nomination for the 2021 Burroughs Award. Anyone who has served as a member of a local school board in 2021, including those who might have been nominated in prior years, is eligible for consideration. 

Please complete the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award Nomination Form below. Keep in mind that you do not need to address each of the criteria. For example, your district may not have had a crisis or major difficulty, or your nominee may be especially strong in one area. Your nomination should clearly and separately identify the relevant leadership actions of the board member for each of the criteria you choose to address. 

Nominations should be submitted by the close of business on Friday, October 22, 2021. If you have questions, please contact Kirsten Parr at (217) 670-3988 or kparr@isbe.net. 

Many individuals on local school boards deserve special recognition for their service to students and the community, and it is a privilege for us to do so through the Burroughs Award. We hope you will join us in this effort by nominating a member of your board.

Thomas Lay Burroughs Award Nomination Form

Thank you for submitting your nomination! We will reach out to you if we need to collect additional information.

Background Information:


Type part of the district name or the RCDT. Click the Search button. Select the district from the dropdown.
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Areas of Accomplishment by the Nominee

Please provide specific examples and descriptions of how your nominee accomplished any or all of the below criteria.
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