2016 Global Teacher Fellow Honored With Teach of the Year Award

Last Updated: May 11, 2017

Organization of American HistoriansDuring its annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) presented Michael Williams, Warren New Tech High School, with their prestigious 2017 Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award, which is given annually for contributions made by precollegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history.

Michael was a Fellow of the Rural Trust's 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program.

For his grounded commitment to his district as well as his expansive vision and interaction with historians and educators across disciplines and around the world, Mr. Williams is an inspiration. His school is committed to project-based learning, an interdisciplinary and student-centered pedagogy through which Mr. Williams has created immersive investigations like the Cornerstone Project, a collaborative investigation into slavery that ties local and family history to broader historical processes. He is a generous mentor to all his students: as one commented, “Michael Williams has a passion for educating his students in a way that is completely objective. He deems no automatic ‘winners or losers’ based on one or two choices a student makes throughout their career. He sees the potential all his students have in learning and works hard to cater to each of their individual needs. He’ll let you direct your own path, but provide you with a map if you get lost.”

A former lawyer and award-winning teacher still in the first decade of his teaching career, Mr. Williams models exceptional community spirit, volunteering with numerous local organizations and collaborating with historians and history educators on numerous activities and projects. His pedagogy encompasses traditional historical thinking skills with innovative twenty-first-century methods, and his portfolio gives ample evidence of the lasting impact he has had on students and colleagues alike. We have been inspired by reading Mr. Williams’s materials and extend our congratulations to him for this well-deserved recognition. This year’s list of nominees was longer than it has been in recent years, and it was a daunting task to pick just one award winner. The committee commends all nominees for the vital work they are doing with students across the country.

The award was presented on April 8 by OAH’s 2016–17 President Nancy F. Cott and 2017–18 President Edward L. Ayers.

About the Organization of American Historians

Founded in 1907, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) is the world's largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,500 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners. It publishes the quarterly Journal of American History, the leading scholarly publication and journal of record in the field of American history for more than a century. It also publishes The American Historian magazine. Formerly known as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (MVHA), the association became the OAH in 1965 to reflect a broader scope focusing on national studies of American history. The OAH national headquarters are located in the historic Raintree House on Indiana University's Bloomington campus. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.