Over the past few weeks, we have had the honor of presenting three exceptional Texas teachers with Outstanding Teaching Awards.
On October 5, State Representative Linda Harper-Brown joined Matt Garcia, outreach coordinator for U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions, Paula Peters, a Humanities Texas board member, and Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas, to present Helen Bradley of Irving with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.
Ms. Bradley teaches AP and dual credit U.S. history and government at Nimitz High School, where she has been instrumental in curriculum design and serves actively in campus organizations such as the Nimitz Junior Historian Club.
Sherry Perkins, social studies coordinator at Irving Independent School District, said Ms. Bradley’s "remarkable talents have been instrumental in contributing to effective and meaningful experiences for students and teachers alike. She is a master teacher who ceaselessly exhibits care and concern for all of her students and colleagues with whom she works. She truly impacts our future American citizens."
From creating innovative lesson plans, to organizing field trips to local museums and cultural institutions, to developing the Junior Historian Club into one of the top ten history clubs in the country, Ms. Bradley works tirelessly to instill in her students a love of history and a desire to learn. She provides her students with opportunities not only to extend their history education outside of the classroom, but also to develop the knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens.
Ms. Bradley was also selected as the Preserve America Teacher of the Year for 2008 and the 2010 Texas Council for Social Studies High School Teacher of the Year.
"Irving students and the entire community are fortunate to have a teacher as inspiring, passionate, and skilled as Helen Bradley," State Representative Linda Harper-Brown said. "Helen continually goes above the call of duty so our students might benefit both now and in the future."
Also on October 5, State Senator John Whitmire joined Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette to present Tara Musslewhite of Humble with the 2011 Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award. Ms. Musslewhite teaches Texas history at Atascocita Middle School, where she serves as social studies instructional coach, guiding her colleagues in innovative instruction and curriculum development. She is also an instructor of pedagogy and professional responsibilities at Lone Star College-Kingwood.
"I believe that all students will learn history as long as the classroom teacher successfully taps into their intrinsic desire for discovery," said Ms. Musslewhite. "Motivating students by making connections between past and present is a necessity in the history classroom. I try very hard to practice what I preach."
Ms. Musslewhite is actively involved in the development of Texas history curricula at both the local and state levels. In 2003, the state of Texas adopted her supplement, Step into Texas History, to the current Texas history textbook, allowing her to share her innovative, inquiry-based lessons with teachers across the state. These lessons require students to think critically and put themselves in the roles of Texans throughout history.
The Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award was established in memory of Ms. Howell, former chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors, as a lasting tribute to her service to the organization and her commitment to the study of Texas history.
On October 6, Norman Goldberg of San Antonio received an Outstanding Teaching Award from Liz James at Dr. Bernard A. Harris Middle School, where he teaches sixth-grade world cultures. Mr. Goldberg also directs the school’s annual history festival and coordinates the Courts in School program.
"I teach my classes with the objective of helping students develop positive resiliency characteristics and skills for living as well as master the subject content," said Mr. Goldberg. "Most importantly, I try to create lessons so my students are engaged in rigorous activities, but can have fun while learning."
During his teaching career, Mr. Goldberg has been instrumental in developing and implementing a Teen Law program. Additionally, he coordinates interactive programs like the annual history festival, in which historical re-enactors visit Harris Middle School, and Project Citizen, where students study and present ideas to solve community problems. Through programs like these, Mr. Goldberg encourages his students to develop into successful, active, and responsible citizens.
"My goal in teaching is to give my students the intellectual tools they need for life," said Mr. Goldberg. "I feel it is important to teach students to think and to effectively use what they have learned."
"[Mr. Goldberg] has always been very involved in the planning and implementation of initiatives throughout the campus, district, and community to make education a focus for today’s youth," said Ms. Denise Bird, social studies department chair at Harris Middle School. "He works with sixth-graders to instill patriotism, good moral character, and high educational standards."
"We are pleased to recognize such accomplished teachers," said Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. "Ms. Musslewhite, Ms. Bradley, and Mr. Goldberg instill the joys of learning in their students and motivate them to achieve at high levels."
Know of an outstanding humanities teacher in your area? Submit a nomination form to Humanities Texas by December 12, 2011. Visit the awards section of our website for more information.