Tachau Teacher of the Year Award

The deadline has passed. Information on the 2024 award will be available summer 2023.


A photograph of Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau
Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau

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.

The award will be presented at the 2023 OAH Conference on American History in Los Angeles, CA, March 30–April 2.


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


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.

Nomination Procedures

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

To nominate a teacher or yourself, please fill out the nomination form here.

Nominees will 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 2023. 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 midnight PST on November 1, 2022 to be considered for the 2023 award. Nominees will be asked to submit materials by December 1, 2022.

Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award Committee

Amy Trenkle, D.C. Public Schools/American University (Committee Chair)
James Seymour, Lone Star College-CyFair
Charles Yarborough, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science


List of Past Winners