Press Releases

NOVEMBER 13, 2017
CONTACT: MICHAEL L. GILLETTE at (512) 440-1991

Austin Teacher Receives Statewide Award

Humanities Texas is pleased to announce that Michael Shackelford of O. Henry Middle School in Austin is one of 13 recipients of the 2017 Humanities Texas Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.

State Representative Donna Howard will present Shackelford with his award during a ceremony in his classroom at O. Henry Middle School at 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14.

Humanities Texas presents annual statewide awards to encourage excellence in teaching and recognize Texas classroom teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development and extracurricular programming. The organization received nearly 700 nominations for the 2017 awards.

Shackelford currently teaches U.S. history at O. Henry Middle School and serves as the eighth-grade team leader. In 2014, Shackelford received the distinction of Teacher of the Year at O. Henry Middle School.

"When I first started at O. Henry in May as the new principal, I instantly knew Michael Shackelford was a leader in the classroom and on campus," said Principal Marlo Malott. "His students leave his classroom knowing the world has not always been a kind place, but it is one that as young adults they have the chance to mold and change. He leads with equity and advocacy for his students and I am confident he will continue to learn and lead for many years to come as a passionate and dedicated educator."

The secret to Shackelford’s success is his desire for his students to make meaningful connections to history. He coordinates annual trips to cities like Washington D.C., Boston and New York City where students can see history and government come alive in new and exciting ways. His interactive teaching methods—which include simulations, projects and games—encourage student participation and consideration of the social, political and cultural contexts of history.

“I want students to feel safe and known in my class,” said Shackelford. “I want to create a culture of respect and an appreciation for history, and I want my students to know that our lives outside of the classroom have a direct impact on our love for learning.”

“Humanities Texas is pleased to recognize the achievements of Michael Shackelford and O. Henry Middle School,” said Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Shackelford inspires and motivates his students to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

Shackelford will receive a $5,000 cash award, with an additional $500 for O. Henry Middle School to purchase instructional materials.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

Humanities Texas is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Outstanding Teaching Awards. Additional information about Humanities Texas and its teacher award program is available at

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Michael Shackelford.

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