Elizabeth Chapman, a seventh-grade Texas history and English teacher at Westbrook Intermediate School in Friendswood, received the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award on October 9, 2009. Ms. Chapman, along with twelve other teachers across the state who received Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities awards, will receive a $5,000 cash prize, with an additional $500 for her school to purchase humanities-based instructional materials. For a complete list of the 2008–2009 award winners and Commended Teachers of the Humanities, click here.

"In preparing students for the responsibilities of democratic citizenship, I think that it is important to help them build a skill set that extends beyond the mastery of the content. I want my students to practice making good choices, and to understand the implications those choices will have on the future," said Ms. Chapman.

Ms. Chapman's students travel to Texas landmarks, museums, and archeology and history festivals, extending their study of history outside the classroom. She encourages her students to develop an awareness of their responsibilities as American citizens.

On October 15, Humanities Texas Director of Grants and Education Eric Lupfer traveled to Laredo to present an Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities award to Ms. Lilia Castillo, who until this year, taught at the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts. Dr. Martha E. Villarreal, director of the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts, said, "Ms. Castillo is a teacher who is passionate about her work. She has an innate ability to connect with her students and is constantly challenging and inspiring her students to greater achievements."

"I have experienced how all students, regardless of age, respond positively if I show them how much I want them to learn," said Ms. Castillo.

At Vidal M. Treviño, Ms. Castillo's students have been actively involved in writing for Tapestry, a campus-based literary magazine that received several prestigious awards and honors under her sponsorship, including an invitation to participate in Columbia University’s 2008 spring conference.

Ms. Ann Hale, of Haltom High School in Fort Worth, was honored on November 2 for her exceptional teaching of English. "I try to make connections between the curriculum in my classes and everything else the students may know or have experienced. That includes pop culture, history, news, and cartoons that are often cited as examples of complex concepts, as well as ever popular topics among their peers," said Ms. Hale.

Ms. Hale believes that to understand literature, her students must study it in its original historical or cultural context. When teaching classical literature such as "Oedipus Rex" or The Odyssey, her students also consider the Greek alphabet, art, language, and culture.

"We are pleased to recognize such accomplished teachers," said Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. "They instill the joy of learning in their students and motivate them to achieve at high levels."

Nominations for the 2009–2010 Outstanding Teaching Awards are due on December 11, 2009. For more information, click here.

2008–2009 Outstanding Teachers of the Humanities

James F. Veninga Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award

Jay L. ClackBreckenridge High SchoolBreckenridge

Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award

Jennifer M. BellGlencrest Middle SchoolFort Worth
Lilia CastilloVidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine ArtsLaredo
Jana FryWilliams High SchoolPlano
Jim FurgesonMcCallum High SchoolAustin
Ann HaleHaltom High SchoolFort Worth
Kathleen HodgesWalnut Glen Academy for ExcellenceGarland
Sally HunterHighland Park ElementaryAustin
Stacee JohnsonJ. A. Vitovsky ElementaryMidlothian
Abigail Morton-GarlandIDEA College PrepatoryDonna
Kyle OlsonInternational High SchoolAustin
Signe PetersonSouth Houston Intermediate SchoolSouth Houston

Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award

Elizabeth ChapmanWestbrook Intermediate SchoolFriendswood

2008–2009 Commended Teachers of the Humanities

Caroll Ann AdamsWest Memorial Junior HighKaty
Claudia AllcornCraig Middle SchoolAbilene
Melanie AtkinsonMansfield Summit High SchoolArlington
Kris BakerCedar Valley Middle SchoolAustin
Margaret ClayKohlberg Elementary SchoolEl Paso
Scott CoulsonPoteet High SchoolMesquite
Kathryn L. CraigCarl Wunsche Senior High SchoolSpring
Amy W. EcklerJohn Paul II High SchoolPlano
Marsha FoltermannB. McDaniel Middle SchoolDenison
Kenneth Ray FrankumPin Oak Middle SchoolBellaire
Na'Tasha FreemanLake Air Middle SchoolWaco
Joanne HowardSummer Creek Middle SchoolCrowley
Lori JohnsonSchimelpfenig Middle SchoolPlano
Leah Anne KleimanSchimelpfenig Middle SchoolPlano
Laine LeibickHighland Park Elementary SchoolAustin
Bertha Lucio-CaballeroOliveira Middle School/Brownsville ISDBrownsville
Tim MabeWills Point High SchoolWills Point
Clifford A. MabryFriendswood High SchoolFriendswood
Patricia MacMullenConnally High SchoolAustin
Natalie MartinezReagan High SchoolHouston
Sarah MosesReagan High SchoolHouston
Adelheid MurphreyHudson Middle SchoolLufkin
Andre NitschEast Early College High SchoolHouston
Rory PayneAnna High SchoolAnna
Jennifer PennyRice Middle SchoolPlano
John PomeroySt. Andrew's Episcopal SchoolAustin
Floy F. RorieHaggard Middle SchoolPlano
Darbie SaffordSt. Monica SchoolDallas
Karen ScheidlerChapel Hill High SchoolTyler
Wendy SeeligerLewisville High SchoolLewisville
Christopher J. SmithS&S High SchoolSadler
Susan StahaJohn Glenn Middle SchoolSan Angelo
Jeff SteeleRunge High SchoolRunge
Tedra L. UlmerLohn SchoolLohn
Julie WitteGuillen Middle SchoolEl Paso
From left to right: Congressman Pete Olson, 22nd District of Texas, Linden Heck Howell Award winner Elizabeth Chapman of Westbrook Intermediate School (Friendswood), and Humanities Texas staff member Liz Bohman Barger.
From left to right: Dr. A Marcus Nelson, Laredo I.S.D. superintendent; Dr. Martha Villarreal, director, Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts; Lilia Castillo, Outstanding Teaching Award recipient; Maria Gonzalez, representative from Congressman Henry Cuellar’s office; and Eric Lupfer.
From left to right: Haltom High School Principal Mike Jasso, Ann Hale, Representative Kay Granger, and Liz Bohman Barger.