Welcome to the ILSTOY website.  ILSTOY is a a professional organization of Illinois Teachers of the Year and Finalists named through the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Program.

Mission:  The Illinois State Teachers of the Year and Finalists, having been recognized as representing the best practices and dispositions in teaching, will use their collective voice to impact students’ learning and the teaching profession. Toward these ends, ILSTOY will actively take a leading role to involve teachers in making decisions about educational policy, advocacy, and practice in classrooms, schools, districts, communities, and in state, national and global arenas.

Please review our website for information about teacher leadership among our members and throughout Illinois.

Congratulations ILSTOY team (Rebecca Wattleworth, Jennifer Smith, Jacob Carlson, Virginia Valdez, Joe Fatheree and Lynn Gaddis) for being named one of twelve national finalists in the Agents for Learning Press Release to make recommendations for states’ ESSA plan.  

2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year

Kim Thomas


Kim Thomas ’16, a math teacher at Woodruff Career and Technical Center, the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year. “Ms. Thomas uses her energy and dedication to motivate her students to learn and achieve in every lesson she teaches,” said State Superintendent Tony Smith. “She develops creative techniques to teach her students and challenge their attitudes towards math. Her enthusiasm for teaching is inspiring.” See the Press more


Toolkit Team
IL Team works with 5 States on State Toolkit for Teacher Leadership
Deputy Superintendent at ISBE Karen Corken, Lynn Gaddis '95, Superintendent of Palos Heights SD Dawn Green, Pam Reilly '14, and Principal in... read more
Pam Reilly Leads Team in Teach to Lead
Pam Reilly '14 lead a team of teachers, a principal, and Superintendent Dawn Green at the April New Orleans Teach to Lead Summit.  The team... read more
NNSTOY launched report on Career Advancement in March in Washington, D. C.
Lynn Gaddis co-authored with Katie Natale, Katherine Bassett, and Kathy McKnight through NNSTOY and Pearson a two-year report, "Teacher Career... read more
Pam and Lynn t and L
ILSTOY Presents at Teaching and Learning Conference
Lynn Gaddis and Pam Reilly presented on a CCSSO Panel at the Teaching and Learning Conference  in Washington D.C. March 10 about the work for... read more
Joe Teaching
Joe Fatheree Named Top 10 Teacher in the World
Joe Fatheree, ILSTOY 07 , was recently recognized as one of the Top 10 Teachers in the World at a reception in Dubai by the Varkey... read more

2016 Illinois State Teacher of the Year Finalists:

  • Candice Cortese
  • Valerie Gabriel
  • Sheila Grant
  • Becky Merrill
  • Pam Phelps
  • Paul Rausch
  • Kim Thomas
  • Pam Wanderson
  • Diane Washburn
  • Jennifer Woodrow