Students in Stacy Hoeflich’s fourth-grade classroom at John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., don’t just learn American history, they live it through encounters with primary sources and historical reenactors, participation in “Colonial Day” fairs, field trips to historical sites, operas about historical figures such as George Mason and Thomas Jefferson that are written and performed by the students, and more. Ms. Hoeflich’s efforts were recognized last month by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, which awarded her the prestigious 2011 National History Teacher of the Year Award. Co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, HISTORY®, and Preserve America, the award was presented in a ceremony at the Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City and is accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize.
Ms. Hoeflich was nominated for the award by Dr. Kelly Schrum, director of educational projects at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, which houses the National History Education Clearinghouse. “After seeing the students in (Hoeflich’s) classroom excitedly puzzle over a difficult map created four hundred years or political cartoons from the last century,” Schrum wrote, “I am confident that students leave her classroom with a lifelong interest in understanding the complexities of the past.” Ms. Hoeflich continuously uses the new knowledge and skills she gains through professional development opportunities to create new learning experiences for her students. A summer institute she attended to learn about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for instance, gave Hoeflich the idea for the student-produced operas.
A past participant in several Teaching American History (TAH) grant-funded projects, Ms. Hoeflich regularly shares her lessons and advice about working with primary sources with colleagues in her community and across the country. Her skills in the classroom are featured on the TAH-sponsored National History Education Clearinghouse in two videos that capture lessons involving using maps as primary sources and understanding societal resistance through the medium of political cartoons.
Outside of her classroom, Ms. Hoeflich serves as an educational consultant for the Center for History and New Media and as a past leader in her district’s TAH grant. In addition, she has presented at the national conferences of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s annual TAH project director conferences.
Stacy Hoeflich is a valued member of the history education profession and an invaluable resource for the Teaching American History community at the local, state, and national levels. The staff of OII’s TAH Program joins her many colleagues, students both past and present, and parents in congratulating Ms. Hoeflich on winning the 2011 Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year Award.