Wednesday, October 16, 2019
olive foster portrait

Do you know an outstanding history or social studies teacher in Illinois? The ISHS Educational Services Committee seeks nominations for the Olive Foster Outstanding Teacher Award. This award honors Olive Foster, former Illinois State Historian, Director of the School Services Program, and originator of the Illinois History Program for students. The annual award is designed to recognize and reward a full-time teacher for outstanding contributions to the study and teaching of state and local history. Recipients of this award actively promote Illinois history in schools as well as in their local communities, using the resources of one or more local historical societies, museums, the ISHS, and other Illinois-based historical organizations. Documentation of the teacher's work is required. A $1,000 award will be given in 2020 to an Illinois teacher from one of the following categories:


  1. elementary school level,
  2. middle/junior high school level, and
  3. high school level.


The award will be presented at the Illinois State Historical Society's Annual Awards Banquet in 2020. Nominations may be made by any group or person, including the nominee, and should be accompanied by the following information:


  • Nominee's name and address
  • Nominee's subject and grade level
  • Nominator's name and contact information
  • The school where the teacher is employed
  • Contact information for the school's principal
  • Nominee's educational background
  • Nominee's professional experience
  • A narrative description of the nominee's outstanding classroom accomplishments. This should include specific history units taught by the nominee and information about local museums or historical societies that were involved. Commentary on the results or impact of the programs and how they were developed may be included. Other awards won by the nominee or nominee's students should also be included.
  • Letter of support or recommendation
  • The Society's Annual Awards Committee will judge all nominations and select the winner.

Informational Letter (PDF)
Download Application (PDF)

The deadline for submission of requested information is December 31, 2019.

Nominations may be submitted via paper to: Illinois State Historical Society, Foster Award, 5255 Shepherd Road, Springfield, IL 62703-5408.

For more information, call the Illinois State Historical Society at 217-525-2781.

Recent Recipient

2018 Olive Foster Teacher Award Recipient
Richard J. Hansen, history and social studies teacher at Mt. Zion High School, receives the ISHS 2018 Olive Foster Teacher of the Year award from ISHS President Leah Axelrod.
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