Steven Sonksen Named 2013 Texas History Teacher of the Year

Aug 11, 2013 by

star teacherNew York, NY, August 9, 2013:  Steven Sonksen, a teacher at E.L. Kent Elementary School in Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD, has been named the 2013 Texas History Teacher of the Year.  The award is co-sponsored by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, HISTORY® and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on behalf of its Preserve America program.

Sonksen has been teaching for twenty five years, the last seventeen in Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD. He is on the curriculum design team in Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD and presents staff development to teachers district wide. In the classroom, his students employ critical thinking to become historical investigators. Sonksen was selected to attend the Gilder Lehrman Seminar on North American Slavery in Comparative Perspective 2012. He will be presented the 2013 Texas History Teacher of the Year Award in a ceremony at E.L. Kent Elementary School on September 13, 2013.

Sonksen, a Dallas resident, will receive a $1,000 honorarium and will be in the running to be named the 2013 National History Teacher of the Year this fall. E.L. Kent Elementary School’s library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HISTORY®.  Sonksen will also be invited to a 2014 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar and E.L. Kent Elementary School will be named a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School.

“This award gives us the chance to recognize great history teachers across the country,” said Lesley S. Herrmann, Executive Director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “It puts exceptional educators front and center.”

Inaugurated in 2004, the National History Teacher of the Year Award promotes and celebrates the teaching of American history in classrooms across the United States.   The award honors one exceptional K-12 teacher of American history from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories.

The 2013 award honors elementary school teachers of kindergarten through sixth grade.  The selection of the state winner is based upon several criteria, including: at least three years of classroom experience in teaching American history; a demonstrated commitment to teaching American history (including state and local history); evidence of 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.

From the state winners, one is recognized as the National History Teacher of the Year and will be honored in a fall ceremony. The winner, together with the nominator and two of the winner’s students, will travel to the national recognition ceremony with expenses paid by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Nominations are open year round for grades K–12

Nominations can be made by a student, parent, colleague, supervisor, or other administrator familiar with the teacher’s work. To be considered for the 2014 award, elementary teachers must be nominated by February 1, 2014. For more information about the nomination process, visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features the 60,000 unique historical documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection, www.gilderlehrman.org. Each year the Institute offers support and resources to tens of thousands of teachers, and through them enhances the education of more than a million students. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

About HISTORY®

HISTORY® and HISTORY HD® are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture. Among the network’s program offerings are hit series such as American Pickers, Ax MenAmerican Restoration, Ice Road Truckers, Top Gear, Pawn Stars and Top Shot, as well as acclaimed specials including  Gettysburg, America the Story of Us, WWII in HD, 102 Minutes That Changed America and Life After People. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards, seven Primetime Emmy® Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy® Awards and received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s Save Our History® campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School Day is the network’s signature initiative connecting America’s schools and communities with veterans from all wars. The HISTORY website, located at www.history.com, is the leading online resource for all things history, featuring over 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad range of thousands of historical topics.  For more information go to www.historypressroom.com.

About Preserve America

Preserve America is a federal partnership program begun in 2003 and led by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that encourages and highlights community efforts to preserve and enhance the priceless cultural heritage of the United States as well as associated natural resources. The program’s goals include fostering greater public knowledge of, and appreciation for, the nation’s past and its cultural traditions; encouraging broader support for saving the special places that help document and tell the story of America; strengthening civic pride and participation in ways that help build and sustain communities by preserving, enhancing, and using cultural heritage; and improving local economic vitality and livability through heritage development and heritage tourism. Nearly 900 communities as well as volunteer organizations have been recognized nationwide for their heritage stewardship, tourism, and education efforts.  The Preserve America program is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in cooperation with the White House, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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