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Teacher of the Year

An Award for Teachers in Civics

Each year, the Barbara O'Donnell Award for Illinois Law-Related Education High School Teacher of the Year is presented to an educator who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom by integrating law into his/her curriculum.

Eligibility Criteria

Nominees should demonstrate the following:


The educator gives of his/her time and energy beyond that required. The educator provides enriching activities to supplement classroom pursuits. The educator's love for education is evident and provides motivation for students.


The educator has a deep knowledge of the subject and applies this knowledge in realistic and intriguing ways which stimulate student interest and increase students' understanding of how the law relates to other subjects, and of its significance in our society.


The educator cares about students' academic and personal development. Students feel respected. The educator demonstrates the belief that all students can achieve by involving all students and holding high expectations for them.

Critical Thinking

The educator uses teaching techniques that foster the development of critical thinking. Encourages students to express their ideas and creates a classroom environment that is tolerant of diverse opinions. 


The educator provides a personal and professional model for others to follow. Assists other teachers and shares ideas with them. Contributes positively to departmental and school activities.

2016 Recipients: Valerie L. Williams of Pulaski International School of Chicago and Michael Haak of Olympia High School in Stanford, IL.

The Barbara O'Donnell Award for Illinois Law-Related Education High School Teacher of the Year

The O'Donnell Award is given to commemorate the outstanding teaching ability of the late Barbara O'Donnell, former coordinator of the Career Development Center for Law and Justice at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. The recipient should be a high school teacher of law or social studies who integrates law into his/her curriculum.

Past Winners

  • Andrew Bucke, Carver Military Academy

  • Past LRE Teachers of the Year

  • Pat McAvoy, Mather High School

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