This November, we at Humanities Texas are feeling especially thankful for teachers, who have adapted to the year's challenges and uncertainty with aplomb. We are pleased to showcase three more of our 2020 Outstanding Teaching Award winners. Each teacher received $5,000, with an additional $1,000 for their school to support further excellence in the instruction of the humanities. Read more about the incredible teachers we recently recognized below.
On October 27, 2020, Humanities Texas awarded Elizabeth Carr of South Texas ISD Medical Professions in Olmito a 2020 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award during a virtual South Texas ISD Board of Directors meeting. While she has taught U.S. history and world geography at the Medical Professions campus since 2016, Carr's career in the classroom spans fifteen years.
"I believe that my most significant accomplishment is being able to channel my passion for teaching history to create a positive impact in my students' lives," said Carr. "I am firmly committed to keep learning and find different ways to educate so that my students may become invested and passionate about the humanities."
In addition to teaching, Carr is also the founder of her school's History Club. The club often partners with local history sites and societies to volunteer for events, and they once received a letter of appreciation for their continued service from the National Park Service.
"She has a thorough knowledge of our high school program combined with her creative imagination, which allows her to make her work interesting. Elizabeth has the physical energy and drive to do a good job, however demanding, in any school setting," said Medical Professions Principal Harry Goette. "She inspires her students with a sense of understanding and appreciation for history to future generations."
In a virtual presentation on November 6, 2020, Humanities Texas awarded Deirdre Doughty of Colorado River Collegiate Academy in Bastrop a 2020 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. The award presentation took place during a virtual staff meeting with campus faculty and teachers in attendance.
Doughty received her PhD in history from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013 and taught at Southwestern University in Georgetown for two years. For the last three years, Doughty has been teaching U.S. history and social studies research methods at Colorado River Collegiate Academy.
"I want to provide my students with the foundation for becoming active, responsible citizens and lifelong learners," stated Doughty. "The gifts of an education in history and in the humanities are the illumination and creation of connections between people, past and present, so that we can make a way forward together."
Outside of the classroom, Doughty serves on the Teacher Leadership Board of Generation Citizen, a national organization that works to equip and inspire young people to exercise their civic power. In addition to her contributions as an education advisor to Generation Citizen, she is also a teacher leader on her campus and in her school district.
"Deirdre Doughty is the epitome of excellence when it comes to teaching humanities in Texas," said Colorado River Collegiate Academy teacher Monica Roffol. "Not only is she highly qualified, student-centered, and actively involved, she is also a model of civic-mindedness and community activism."
On November 5, 2020, Humanities Texas Board Member Katharine Schlosberg and Humanities Texas Executive Director Eric Lupfer presented Martha Heidari of Glenn Elementary School in San Antonio with a 2020 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. Heidari's students, family members, and colleagues also attended the virtual presentation.
Heidari's classroom career spans twenty-two years, and she has spent the last fourteen years at Glenn Elementary teaching all subjects to second-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students.
"I believe that what students learn in school should not be disconnected from how that knowledge is utilized in the real world," said Heidari. "In my classroom, students explore relevant problems, create plans to build potential solutions or answers, and reflect throughout the learning process."
In addition to teaching, Heidari is the fourth-grade team leader, working with other team leaders to increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement throughout the school. She also serves as the school's field trip coordinator, arranging in-person outings as well as virtual programs with guest speakers and other schools around the world.
"Mrs. Heidari brings multiple experiences to our students in the forms of field trips and guest speakers to our campus," said Glenn Elementary Principal Michelle Fine. "She is a true activist for her students and ensures that the curricula are implemented using progressive methods, hands-on approaches, and engaging techniques to pique the interest of our students."