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An interview with the 2014 Georgia History Teacher of the Year, Nina Kendall

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History recently recognized Eagle’s Landing High School (ELHS) U.S. History teacher, Ms. Nina Kendall as Georgia’s History Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Kendall is the Eagle’s Landing High School Social Studies Department Chair and a member of Histocrats

Winning the state award earned Ms. Kendall $1,000, and according to Gilder Lehrman employee who only identified herself as Justine. “Each state winner will receive a box of materials from the Gilder Lehrman bookstore including document booklets, calendars, posters and books. Teachers will also become members of our Affiliate School program, which grants them access to the Gilder Lehrman website, resources, lesson plans, and eligibility for our summer seminar professional development programs.” The resources will be presented to the ELHS media center, where they will be available for use. If chosen as the National History Teacher of the Year, Ms. Kendall would earn $10,000 and a trip to the National Awards Ceremony, along with two of her students.

Ms. Kendall:

Q: How many years have you been teaching in the classroom?

A: “I have 16 years teaching experience.”

Q: Would you share with us two ways you have demonstrated a commitment to teaching American history?

A: “I have participated in several Teaching American History Grants and am part of a group of teachers who advocate for the enjoyment and teaching of American history called the Histocrats.”

Q: How have you used creativity and imagination in the classroom?

A: “I have created assignments and opportunities that give students the chance to use their creativity and imagination as they show what they have learned. One example is National History Day projects where students research a topic and design and create their own projects.”

Q: How have you used documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary resources to engage students with American history?

A: “Primary sources, art and artifacts are the basis of great activities. Students use them to discover and interpret the historical narrative. We travel to these museums and historic sites because of interest in the history they present. Bringing aspects of these places to the classroom builds interest and engagement.”

Q: How have you used History to teach Literacy?

A: “History class is a great place to use and develop skills. In history, we use strategies to help students connect with the complex strategies that skilled readers use to understand texts and relate it to what they already know.”

To be eligible for the award, the Gilder Lehrman Institute requires the teacher to be a full-time educator in any grade teaching American history, which may include state and/or local history. A minimum teaching experience of three-years, a demonstrated commitment to teaching American history, evidence of using creativity and imagination in the classroom, effective use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary resources to engage students with American history.

The slide show shows examples of students work, and Ms. Kendall’s Traveling Trunk of Historical Artifacts.

This is Ms. Kendall’s second professional award in recent years; she was presented the 2011 Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Social Studies Educator by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. “I am thrilled to be recognized for my work in the classroom,” said Ms. Kendall. “It renews my spirit to be honored by those who share my love for history and history education.”

Dr. Aaron Randall, the most recent district coordinator for social studies, added, “It is a true honor for Ms. Kendall to receive the Teacher of the Year Award for her abilities in the classroom and for the way in which she has her students interacting with primary sources documents. She is a true asset to Eagle’s Landing High and Henry County Schools.”

Ms. Kendall is starting her tenth year of teaching in Henry County Schools, where she is the Eagle’s Landing High School Social Studies Department Chair; you can find Histocrats on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at their Blog. For more information on Henry County Schools, please visit here.

Disclaimer and challenge; Ms. Kendall is frequently referred to by the author, as Oldest-Daughter. The challenge; If you know of a deserving Teacher, this author would be honored to present their accomplishments.

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