On December 12, 2012, U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger, Humanities Texas board member Joy Ann Havran, and Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas, presented Wayne R. Nichols of Fort Worth with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.
At the time of the award, Mr. Nichols taught social studies at Middle Level Learning Center in Fort Worth. Currently, he serves as social studies content specialist at Fort Worth Independent School District.
For the last three years, Mr. Nichols has served as vice president for the Fort Worth Area Council for Social Studies. He is also a part-time filmmaker and screenwriter.
Joseph S. Niedziela, social studies content specialist at Fort Worth ISD, said, "Mr. Nichols's continuous work to improve the teaching and learning of social studies epitomizes the time-tested definition for what it means to be an outstanding teacher."
Mr. Nichols, along with a colleague, developed the Social Studies Teacher Playbook, a publication for social studies teachers that combines best practices and teaching strategies. Mr. Nichols has presented the Playbook at local and statewide teacher trainings, and it is currently used in classrooms across the state.
"I am proud of the fact that I have been able to impact so many other teachers with a useful tool, and consequently, the Playbook has enabled me to reach many students other than my own and help them learn and achieve in meaningful ways," said Mr. Nichols.
Dorothy Chegwidden, a teacher at Flower Mound High School, received an Outstanding Teaching Award on November 28, 2012. Robin Vaughan, district administrator for U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess, joined Liz James to present Mrs. Chegwidden with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities award.
Mrs. Chegwidden, who has spent the past thirty-eight years in the classroom, teaches English as well as a course titled "American Experience," which combines the AP English language and composition program with the AP U.S. history program. She also writes curriculum, chairs the English department, and serves as a teacher mentor.
"Mrs. Chegwidden is an active member of our school community, always striving to improve the level of excellence within our humanities program," said Sonya K. Lail, principal of Flower Mound High School. "Her knowledge and expertise are valued both within our district and on our campus."
In her "American Experience" class, Mrs. Chegwidden challenges her students with rigorous classroom activities. From reading biographies and philosophy to studying personal letters and essays, her students learn to evaluate and analyze language and literature from many different viewpoints, including Greco-Roman, early American, and contemporary.
The deadline for nominating a teacher for the 2013 awards has passed, but nominated teachers may visit our awards page for instructions on how to apply.