About Us

ILSTOY Officers
President: Pam Reilly Vice President: Steve Elza
Secretary/Treasurer: Kevin Rutter  Membership Chair: Amy Walsh
Executive Committee Chairpersons
Bylaws: Peggy Allan TWE Recommendations: Brian Curtin
Finalist Development: Rebecca Wattleworth STOY/Finalist Support: Annice Brave and Kim Thomas
Nominating: Bob Grimm Tech/Communication: Jacob Carlson


For sixty years, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has designated an Illinois Teacher of the Year (ILTOY). In 1954, ISBE named Willard Widerburg as the first Illinois Teacher of the Year who then was named the National Teacher of the Year. ILTOY David E. Graf was named National Teacher of the Year in 1968. Forty-two years later in 2010, Annice Brave was named a Finalist for National Teacher of the Year.

The Illinois State Teacher of the Year (ILSTOY) organization began in 1991, when Joe Corsello (’78), Kathy Weber (’83), Peggy Allan (’89), Bill Branch (‘91), and Art Peekel (’92) formed the ILSTOY organization and NSTOY chartered ILSTOY. From 1987-2005, the ILSTOY members worked closely with ISBE through Kim Knauer to plan and conduct the Illinois Educational Leadership Conference yearly in the state capital and build the Those Who Excel Program to conduct the selection, banquet and support of the current Teacher of the Year. Since 2005, ISBE through Ann Muraro has worked through the diminishment of funding to coordinate the work of selection and support of the current Illinois Teacher of the Year and to arrange for the ILSTOY members to review applications for Those Who Excel and video-taped interviews for the selection of the Illinois Teacher of the Year. Ann also supports ILSTOY members to meet during the afternoon of the October banquet to conduct the yearly meeting, and attend a pre-reception, the banquet, and the morning after breakfast for the newly named Illinois Teacher of the Year. In fall 2013, a group of ILSTOY members met to begin discussions on how to develop a strategic plan to expand the voice of Illinois State Teachers of the Year and Finalists throughout Illinois. The membership voted to invite Finalists from the ISBE Those Who Excel Program to become Associate Members in ILSTOY.

Illinois Teachers of the Year have been active in the leadership of the National State Teachers of the Year (NSTOY) organization. In 1978, Joe Corsello (IL’78) and a group of Teachers of the Year throughout the nation came together to found the National State Teacher of the Year organization (NSTOY). He remained the Parliamentarian for over thirty years. Three ILSTOY members served as Vice-President and President of NSTOY: 1995-1999—Kathy Weber (’83); 2003-2007—Art Peekel (’91); and 2005-2009—Peggy Allan (’89). In recent years, Peggy Allan (‘89), Art Peekel, (’92) and Joe Fatheree (’07) served on the Steering Committee of the newly named National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) to develop the five-year strategic plan and seek funding to enable the organization to have an impact on policy in the nation. Peggy Allan continues to serve on the NNSTOY Board of Directors.

Currently, many ILSTOY members serve in state leadership positions. Illinois Teacher Leadership Network, P-20 Council, Advance Illinois, NBRC at Illinois State University, IEA, IFT, Professional Organizations, Task Forces, speakers at state and national conferences, etc.