This October, we are pleased to showcase three more 2021 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 celebrated below.
Humanities Texas awarded Jennifer Cain of O'Connor High School in Helotes a 2021 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. Cain, who has been an educator for sixteen years, has spent the last five years teaching U.S. history at O'Connor High School.
"At the beginning of the year, I tell both my students and their parents that I love my job because it enables me to live and breathe history on a daily basis," Cain said. "Advancing their knowledge and skill is my primary goal, but cultivating their enthusiasm for class is another key factor in my teaching approach."
Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Cain sponsors the History Club, where she connects students and plans events like movie nights, trivia, and Citizen Archivists programs. She also helps organize Breakfast with the Professors, where local professors give a presentation and participate in a Q&A session with students.
"Her actions demonstrate her belief that all students should be provided equity and access to various opportunities within history," said Northside ISD High School Social Studies Specialist Torie Marquez. "She works tirelessly to ensure all students have tools to succeed."
Humanities Texas awarded Rex Ewert of Rochelle School a 2021 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. While he has spent the last three years teaching U.S. and world history, geography, and government, Ewert's teaching career spans twenty-four years.
"The thing I enjoy most about teaching is getting to know and building relationships with the students in my classes," Ewert said. "To that end, my foremost objective at the beginning of every class is to engage students in the learning process. If students feel that they are an important part of the class, they will be engaged and more likely to learn."
In addition to teaching history, Ewert is also a 4-H youth leader where he coaches the McCulloch County 4-H shotgun shooting team to compete at the local, regional, and state levels. He also participates in fundraisers for the club, including hosting an annual benefit for club member scholarships.
"Mr. Ewert is an incredibly insightful instructor, who emphasizes the interconnectedness of topics and provides his pupils the tools they need to be true students of history," said former student Alex Sanchez. "He urged us to look beyond the superficial and to dive deep into the minutiae of a wide range of topics."
Humanities Texas awarded Carlen Floyd of Bowie High School in Austin a 2021 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award. Floyd has spent her entire twenty-five year career teaching U.S. history at Bowie High School.
"If my students can internalize what we read, discuss, and write about in our classroom—if their heads and hearts are opened to understanding the truths of the human experience—then I have achieved the highest accomplishment I could set for myself," Floyd said.
Outside of the classroom, Floyd serves as curriculum consultant and developer for the State Bar of Texas Law-Related Education Foundation. She also acts as presenter, facilitator, and judge for the various competitions.
"It has been my privilege to work closely with [Ms. Floyd] and witness firsthand her brilliance, compassion, dedication, and innovation when it comes to empowering the next generation of thoughtful global citizens," said Bowie High School Humanities Instructional Coach Whitney Shumate.