Two secondary school teachers enrolled in Ashbrook’s Master of Arts in American History and Government (MAHG) program have been awarded Social Studies Teacher of the Year for their states by the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Kelly Eddy of Livonia Churchill High School was named Teacher of the Year for Michigan and Stacy Moses of Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque was named for New Mexico. The annual award, which selects among secondary school teachers in even years, honors educators who teach American history with commitment, creativity, and imagination. It singles out those teachers who most effectively use original “documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary resources to engage students with American history.”
To work from primary sources to understand American statesmen and citizens as they have understood themselves—rather than from the point of view of a later era, which no longer fully comprehends the challenges of the past—is a central aim of Ashbrook’s MAHG program. Eddy and Moses credit the Ashbrook program with expanding their awareness of primary documents and their confidence in using them in the classroom.
To be considered for the Gilder Lehrman award, Eddy and Moses each submitted an application detailing both a lesson plan and a student project they had used in their own classrooms. Eddy described an inventive approach to teaching the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists which took place in 1787 and 1788 as states deliberated whether to ratify the new US Constitution. Eddy asked each student to assume the role of one involved in the debate, and to create a Facebook page advocating a Federalist or Anti-Federalist point of view. Students posted comments on each other’s arguments, using today’s vernacular to elaborate and dissect the arguments they had first encountered by reading 18th century newspaper articles.
Eddy and Moses are two of the 84 outstanding teachers who over the years have chosen to use James Madison Graduate Fellowships to pursue degrees in the MAHG program. They are now also among 52 persons—representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and one US territory—being considered for National Social Studies teacher of the Year, an award that Gilder Lehrman will announce in October.