Only a few days remain to nominate a teacher for the 2012 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award or the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award! Visit our awards page for more information and submit your nomination by December 12.

If you’re a teacher who has already been nominated, you will also find information on how to apply for the awards. Applications are due by February 24, 2012.

In the meantime, meet four award-winners from the 2010–11 school year.

Bob Daugherty, who teaches U.S. history and social studies at Houston’s J. Frank Dobie High School, received an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award on November 1. Mr. Daugherty cofounded Dobie Film Club and Dobie Book Club, organized a history club and competition, and cosponsors the UIL social studies team. From creating innovative lesson plans, which at times include dressing up as significant historical figures, to organizing field trips to local cultural institutions, Mr. Daugherty strives to excite his students about learning history. His willingness and desire to share his love of learning and his passion for history with students and fellow teachers is evident in his involvement in after-school tutoring of both teachers and students and in his sponsorship of a variety of clubs on campus.

"It is my pleasure to see a teacher like Mr. Daugherty receive the recognition he deserves for outstanding and dedicated teaching methods," said State Senator Mike Jackson, who presented Mr. Daugherty with his award. "He shows us that making history 'come alive' in a dynamic way for his students will make a lasting impression on them. That is true education."

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Jesús Francisco de la Teja, Humanities Texas board member and Regents and University Distinguished Professor of History at Texas State University, presented Chris Cooper of San Marcos with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award on November 21. Ms. Cooper teaches AP art history, humanities, and visual arts at San Marcos High School, where she serves as chair of the visual arts department, sponsors the National Art Honor Society, and coordinates and facilitates graduation annually. Ms. Cooper’s interdisciplinary classroom activities and projects weave together art, literature, world history, and the performing arts. Students study and design projects based on literary themes and travel together to art museums to share their perspectives with each other.

One of Ms. Cooper’s most innovative projects was one in which her visual arts and English students researched the history of local street names in San Marcos, interviewed local historians and longtime residents, and ultimately produced multimedia presentations and art projects based on their findings. This project earned San Marcos High School an Apple Education Grant, a Computerworld Smithsonian Technology Innovator award nomination, and its first art computer lab.

“I believe that it is our charge as educators to give students experience in a wide range of individual disciplines, and then lead them in discovering how everything is really an interrelated part of the whole,” said Ms. Cooper. “We are obligated to give our children the opportunity to see how we all have an important place in our rich cultural web. We can each contribute to it in our lifetime and it will shape the future.”

On October 19, State Senator Wendy Davis and Mary L. Volcansek, chair of the Humanities Texas board of directors, presented Melissa Lamprich of Colleyville with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. At the time of the award, Ms. Lamprich taught geography at Colleyville Heritage High School, where she was instrumental in expanding learning opportunities for social studies students since the school opened in 1996. Ms. Lamprich retired at the end of the 2011 school year, but still serves as a substitute teacher. She played a significant role in creating and growing the human geography course, in which students study the cultural aspects of geography and how societies interact with their environments.

Becky Prentice, principal of Colleyville Heritage High School, said, “We are excited to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Melissa Lamprich as she accepts the Outstanding Teaching Award from Humanities Texas. Her dedication to her students, her community, and her profession are an inspiration to us all as she challenges us to embrace our diversity and recognize the importance of the humanities in education.”

“Geography is a major venue for cultural literacy,” said Ms. Lamprich. “It’s an intra-disciplinary integration of all the social studies, coupled with interdisciplinary ties with language arts, science, and math. It’s full of life skills practices that have real-world applications way beyond the classroom.”

On November 16, Todd Martin from the office of U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant joined Paula Peters of the Humanities Texas board to present Brian Horn, an AP human geography and AP U.S. government teacher at Carrollton’s Creekview High School with an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.

Since 2006, Dr. Horn has developed a capstone program for his senior Law Academy students in which they conduct official research on particular social or legal topics and formally present their findings. Dr. Horn not only dedicates his time to ensuring his students’ success, but he also founded Creekview High School’s mock trial program, serves as an instructional mentor for entry-year teachers, and is a member of the campus and district leadership committees.

Joseph LaPuma, principal at Creekview High School, said, “Although Dr. Horn possesses a plethora of strengths, it is his ability to challenge students’ thinking and his charismatic style in the classroom that result in parents singing his praises and students clamoring to take his classes.”

“There are always great stories about teachers making a difference, but the common factor in all of those stories is that the teachers allowed the students to develop their own learning experiences, providing guidance, respect, and concern for the learner,” said Dr. Horn.

Left to right: Liz James, coordinator of educational programs at Humanities Texas; award winner Bob Daugherty; State Senator Mike Jackson; and Steve Jamail, principal of J. Frank Dobie High School.
Chris Cooper (right) with U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett.
Left to right: Mary L. Volcansek, Humanities Texas board chair; State Senator Wendy Davis; award winner Melissa Lamprich; and Becky Prentice, principal at Colleyville Heritage High School.
Brian Horn with some of his students at Creekview High School.