Tachau Teacher of the Year Award

In recognition of the contributions made by precollegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history.



The Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award is given annually by the Organization of American Historians in recognition of the contributions made by precollegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history. The award, to be given for activities which enhance the intellectual development of other history teachers and/or students, memorializes the career of Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau, University of Louisville, for her pathbreaking efforts to build bridges between university and precollegiate history teachers.


Eligibility: Precollegiate teachers engaged at least half time in U.S. history teaching, whether in history or social studies, are eligible.

Criteria: Successful candidates shall demonstrate exceptional ability in one or more of the following kinds of activities:

  • Initiating or participating in projects which involve students in historical research, writing, or other means of representing their knowledge of history.
  • Initiating or participating in school, district, regional, state, or national projects which enhance the professional development of history teachers.
  • Initiating or participating in projects to build bridges between precollegiate and collegiate history or social studies teachers.
  • Working with museums, historical preservation societies, or other public history associations to enhance the place of public history in precollegiate schools.
  • Developing innovative history curricula which foster a spirit of inquiry and emphasize critical skills.
  • Publishing or otherwise publicly presenting scholarship that advances history education or historical knowledge.
Submission Process

Candidates may be nominated by any person familiar with the nominee’s professional accomplishments or standing or nominate themselves.

Click here for the Tachau Teacher of the Year Award nomination form.

Nominees may then be asked to submit the items listed below (in one document, double spaced, 12-point font).

  • A cover letter written by a colleague indicating why the teacher merits the award (no more than two pages).
  • Two letters written by former or present students (no more than two pages each).
  • Curriculum vitae (no more than three pages).
  • Samples of written work. These submissions should include article reprints, reports by classroom observers, course outlines, research proposals, and/or other evidence of excellence in some or all of the areas mentioned in the “Criteria” section (no more than fifteen pages).
  • A narrative describing the goals and effects of his/her work in the classroom and elsewhere for history education (no more than three pages).
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three professional references, including the writer of the cover letter, at least one of whom must be a colleague or supervisor (one page).

The final decision will be made by the Tachau Teacher of the Year Award Committee by February 2025. The winner will be provided with details regarding the OAH Conference on American History and awards presentation. The winner will receive a cash award, a one-year OAH membership, and a complimentary registration for the conference. If the winner is an OAH member, the award will include a one-year renewal of membership in the awardee’s usual membership category.

Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. (PST) on November 1, 2024, to be considered for the 2025 award. Nominees may be asked to submit supplementary materials by December 1, 2024.

Committee Members

Tiara Fourkiller, chair
Stephen Johnson
James Seymour, Lone Star College-CyFair

Past Winners

Robert M. Fenster, Hillsborough High School 

Jennifer A. Ingold, Bay Shore Middle School

Sergio de Alba, R.M. Miano Elementary School

Brian Sheehy, North Andover High School

Charles Yarborough, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

Christopher W. Stanley, Ponaganset High School, Rhode Island

Michael Williams, Warren New Tech High School, North Carolina

Susan Miller, Middleborough High School, Massachusetts

Frank M. Cafarella, Cosgrove Middle School, New York

Stephen J. Sullivan, Lawrence High School, New York

David Lawrence Hazlett, Fountain-Fort Carson High School, Colorado

Robert Good, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Missouri

No award given.

Matthew A. Rozell, Hudson Falls High School, New York

Patricia J. Morris, Ballard High School, Louisville, Kentucky

Bruce Allyn Lesh, Franklin High School, Reisterstown, Maryland

Victoria Zuleger Straughn, La Follette High School, Madison, Wisconsin

Barry Bradford, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Mary Connor, Westridge School, Pasadena, California

Linda Olson, McIntosh Elementary School, Newport News, Virginia

Kim Ibach, Kelly Walsh High School, Casper, Wyoming

Ted Dickson, Providence Day School, Charlotte, North Carolina

Doris Marguerite Will Meadows, Rochester City School District, Rochester, New York

Kathleen Cochrane Kean, Nicolet High School, Glendale, Wisconsin

Michele Vickers Forman, Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury, Vermont

Steven Z. Freiberger, Chatham High School, Chatham, New Jersey

Ron Briley, Sandia Preparatory School, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tedd Levy, Nathan Hale Middle School, Norwalk, Connecticut
Linda Karen Miller, Fairfax High School, Fairfax, Virginia

Gloria Schuster Sesso, Half Hollow Hills Central High School East, Dix Hills, New York