Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 National History Teacher of the Year

Every year the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History awards a National Teacher of the Year.  This year's recipient is Josh Bill of Waukegan High School.

Here is a taste of the announcement:

Mr. Bill is “just another historian in the room” as he allows his students to take the lead in discussions on complex issues in American history. His students are prepared to offer and defend their positions through the information that they have gathered from analyzing primary sources, a cornerstone of Mr. Bill’s classroom. Whether it is through a reenactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill in the school auditorium or a simulation of a Supreme Court hearing, Mr. Bill’s students are experiencing history through creative projects.

His students become immersed in historical research during preparation for the Chicago Metro History Fair, part of the National History Day Competition. In his first few years teaching, Mr. Bill revived the program at his school and has since led his students to success at the local, state, and national levels of the competition. He also reinvigorated a partnership between Waukegan High School and the Waukegan Historical Society that allows students to conduct research on the history of Waukegan. Several projects have gone beyond the competition to make lasting contributions to the local community. For his dedication and many classroom initiatives, Mr. Bill has been recognized by National History Day, the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Center for Civic Education. He is also active in mentoring new and future teachers through his alma mater, Lake Forest College. “As they enter my classroom,” says Mr. Bill, “students are unaware that they will leave not just as historians, but with an appreciation of the fact that American history resonates with their lives.”

I love what this guy is doing in the classroom. Congratulations Mr. Bill!