Nomination Process

Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Program

Find more information at the ISBE Those Who Excel Website.

The Illinois State Board of Education annually sponsors Those Who Excel to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our state’s public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Excellence, Meritorious Service and Special Recognition awards are presented in seven categories: classroom teacher, school administrator/principal, student support personnel (licensed), educational service personnel (unlicensed), school board member/community volunteer; team, and early career educator. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Awards of Excellence winners in the classroom teacher category are finalists for the Illinois Teacher of the Year. Local school district leaders and members of school communities nominate candidates.

The Illinois Teacher of the Year is selected from among the Award of Excellence winners in the Classroom Teacher category and will be announced at the Those Who Excel Banquet in October. The Teacher of the Year will serve as an Ambassador for Teaching. He or she may conduct workshops and speak to education and civic organizations. The Illinois Teacher of the Year receives a lifetime tuition waiver at one of seven state universities. In addition, the Illinois Teacher of the Year competes in the National Teacher of the Year Program. The program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with VOYA, inspired by ING.

A candidate for Teacher of the Year should advocate for students and teachers; actively collaborate within the professional learning community and with parents and families; be an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher in any state-approved or accredited school, pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, who is planning to continue in an active teaching status; inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; and play an active and useful role in the community as well as in school.