OAH Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award

Kara Hamm's picture
December 1, 2016
United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, History Education


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 2017 OAH Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 6–9.


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.

Application Procedures


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

To nominate a teacher, please send a two-page letter to each of the three committee members describing the candidate’s work and why she or he merits the award, along with the six items listed below under "Submission of Application Packet."


Submission of Application Packet

Applicants should submit one copy of each item listed below, in the order given, to each of the three committee members.

  1. A cover letter written by a colleague indicating why the teacher merits the award (no more than two pages).
  2. Two letters written by former or present students (no more than two pages each).
  3. Curriculum vitae (no more than three pages).
  4. 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).
  5. A narrative describing the goals and effects of his/her work in the classroom and elsewhere for history education (no more than three pages).
  6. 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 2017. The winner will be provided with details regarding the OAH Annual Meeting and awards presentation. The winner will receive a cash award, a one-year OAH membership, and a complimentary registration for the annual meeting. If the winner is an OAH member, the award will include a one-year renewal of membership in the awardee’s usual membership category.

One copy of each nomination or application (including the items requested above), with “2017 Tachau Teacher of the Year Award Entry” in the subject line, must be e-mailed by midnight PST on December 1, 2016 in Microsoft Word format directly to the committee members listed below. Each committee member must receive all nominations and applications by December 1, 2016.

Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award Committee

Fred Raphael (Committee Chair)
[Affiliation: Eagle Academy for Young Men at Ocean Hill/Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History]

Colleen Shanley Kyle
[Affiliation: Lakeside Upper School]

Benjamin J. Sacks
[Affiliation: Princeton University]


Contact Info: 

Committee Coordinator
Organization of American Historians
112 North Bryan Avenue
Bloomington IN 47408-4141

Contact Email: