Since 1970, the Illinois State Board of Education has sponsored the Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year program to honor educators who have made significant contributions to our state's public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Awards are presented in seven categories: classroom teachers, early career educators (teachers 1-4 years), school administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, and teams. Application materials are evaluated by a selection committee composed of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Visit our website or reach out to the Educator Recognition Programs Coordinator, Ann Kapustiak at if you have questions about the program.

Please note: If this is your first time using the Submittable platform to complete a nomination or application, you will be required to create an account with Submittable.

The Illinois Council on Women and Girls invites young women in high school to apply to join the Council’s Girls Committee. Participants will share about their experiences and perspectives to help make Illinois a place where all girls can thrive. 

Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton, the Illinois Council on Women and Girls advises Governor JB Pritzker and the General Assembly on policy issues impacting women and girls in Illinois. Girls participating in the Council will have the opportunity to make a difference in issues affecting their lives and the lives of their peers.

The Council highly values diversity in its membership and seeks applicants with a range of geographic, racial, academic, and personal backgrounds. The application is open to all nonbinary and female-identifying youth residing in Illinois and in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades at the time of applying. 

Girls Committee members will serve for one-year terms on the Council. The Girls Committee may meet biweekly, typically after school hours, when planning for upcoming events and projects. Girls Committee members also will attend one-hour quarterly meetings for one of the other Council committees (Gender-based Violence, Academic and Economic Opportunity, Leadership and Inclusion, or Health) and one-hour quarterly meetings of the entire Council, typically held 4-5 p.m. during the work week. Girls Committee meetings will begin in December 2022. 

Virtual participation is available at all Council and committee meetings. 

Application Process
Applications to the Girls Committee are due by October 31, 2022.

The application requires a video submission as the response to one of the questions. 

A panel composed of current Council members will evaluate applications based on Diversity, Interest, Responsibility, Communication, Collaboration, and Problem-Solving and will invite selected applicants to interview. 

If you have any questions or experience any technical issues accessing or submitting the application, please contact Council member Jackie Matthews at or (312) 590-4327.

Illinois State Board of Education