It's not too late to nominate a teacher in your community for the Outstanding Teaching Awards! Visit our awards page to nominate a teacher by December 12, 2012.

On October 29, 2012, U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul joined Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette to present Cathryne McNamara of Austin with an Outstanding Teaching Award. Mrs. McNamara teaches IB (International Baccalaureate) Psychology and IB Theory of Knowledge at Anderson High School, where she serves on both the Campus Advisory Council and District Advisory Council.

Donna Houser, principal at Anderson High School, said, "Students clamor to take her classes because they know her courses promote critical thinking, challenge the status quo, and develop an insight into core beliefs. For students who thirst after deep exploration of what it means to be human, Mrs. McNamara's classes never disappoint or fail to measure up to the anticipated experience."

In her rigorous Theory of Knowledge course, Mrs. McNamara encourages her students to challenge and question the complexities of knowledge and ways of knowing.

"I want my students to have their own ideas about others' ideas, their own explanations about others' explanations, their own meanings for others' proposed meanings," said Mrs. McNamara. "They read, journal, discuss, present, and write about the flawed and fabulous, confusing and clarifying nature of knowledge, belief, sense perception, language, emotion, reason, mathematics, science, history, arts, and ethics."

State Representative John Kuempel and Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas, presented Pamela Krippner with her award on October 23, 2012. Krippner serves as a gifted and talented facilitator for grades K–5 at Weinert Elementary School and Jefferson Avenue Elementary School in Seguin. She has been instrumental in developing district elementary curriculum for gifted and talented students.

Carole McCauley, director of curriculum for Seguin Independent School District, said Mrs. Krippner "provides rich experiences for all students she touches that go far beyond the required core curriculum. She understands that to be prepared to enter the twenty-first century as productive citizens, students must have skills grounded in the humanities as well as the core content curriculum."

"I have the opportunity and moral obligation to make my students aware of their humanity, to help them become responsible, global citizens," said Mrs. Krippner. "The way to achieve this is through an education where the humanities play an integral role."

Mrs. Krippner's interdisciplinary, hands-on lessons weave together art, music, literature, and history, providing opportunities for students to develop critical thinking skills and creativity. Her students explore ancient Greece and learn art techniques and history, visiting local art museums to enhance their study.

In 2011, Mrs. Krippner received a Seguin Education Foundation Art Attack grant to purchase supplies to develop an extracurricular art club for her students to study artists and produce their own artwork.

"Our community is truly fortunate to have had Mrs. Pamela Krippner teaching our young minds and our future leaders," said State Representative John Kuempel. "I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award."

Left to right: Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette, award recipient Cathryne McNamara (with daughter Lucia), and U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul.
Left to right: State Representative John Kuempel, award recipient Pam Krippner, and Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas.