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Presenting the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award Recipients

The Outstanding Educator Awards recognize teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching the humanities and who encourage the humanities to be an important part of their students’ lives. Each of the 2015 recipients, selected from a pool of nominees from across the state, receive a $2,000 fellowship to further their professional development in the humanities, and their schools receive $1,500 for humanities programs and materials.

The 2015 recipients of the Outstanding Educator Awards are:

Mike Andrews, Art, Montgomery Central High School, Clarksville.  Mike has been a classroom teacher for twenty-five years and will use his professional development award to study American artists at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkasas, as well as American metal work at the Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. He will use his school award to acquire humanities resources for the classroom.

"Andrews introduced me to an array of influential artists and their work. His history lessons were more than names and dates; they analyzed current events and the philosophical underpinnings that influenced each artist and their work…His methods could serve as a model for others to follow in the field.”—a former student, from Letter of Recommendation

Marisa Dore, 8th grade U.S. History, Charlotte Middle School, Charlotte.  Marisa has been a classroom teacher for five years and will use her professional development award to travel to a variety of Tennessee museums focusing on state history, specifically focusing on the State of Franklin and antebellum slavery. Her school award will go toward the purchase of humanities materials for the classroom. 

"History is not stagnant. History is full of mysteries and discoveries. History is full of mistakes and victories. History is like teaching.”—from the nominee’s Statement of Philosophy of Teaching 

Matt Marlatt, English, Stewart’s Creek High School, Smyrna.  Matt has been a classroom teacher for nineteen years and will use his professional development award to travel to Boston and Washington D.C. in order to study the Early Colonial and Revolutionary Period in history and literature. Sites of research will include Boston Harbor, Bunker Hill, Old North Church, Boston Common, The Smithsonian Museums, Library of Congress, and National Archives among others. His school award will support the creation of a humanities library for the school library. 

"Matt is one of those teachers that make a lasting impact on all of his students. In fact, Matt makes a lasting impact on all people he meets...I, as all good teachers do, stole many ideas from Matt! I loved his inclusion of music when he taught The Crucible. His imaginative and involving activities (the creation of sample Facebook pages for various literary characters; his Socratic seminars on novels; his annotated posters for small group discussions, etc.) reveal his love of teaching and his love of his students’ love for learning.”—a fellow teacher’s Letter of Recommendation

Linda Moss Mines, History, Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga. Linda has been a classroom teacher for twenty-seven years and will use her school award to embark upon an intergenerational, community wide oral history project involving students from GPS and East Side Elementary School who will work with civic leaders and older citizens to reflect on Chattanooga history, specifically issues the city faced fifty years ago during the Civil Rights Movement and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Her professional development awardwill support consulting with advisors from the National Archives, Library of Congress, VA, and the Cathedral School for Girls and Sidwell Friends regarding best practices for the project.    

"By design, the exploration of the Humanities scaffolds one’s ability to ask questions, to read and listen intently, to respond with accuracy using specific examples that enhance understanding and then to pose the next question for consideration. It is one of the mysteries of human existence that some of our most pressing issues have no single answer; in reality, few questions regarding our existence stand alone...A recent article by Harvard Business Journal noted that most employees are not terminated due to lack of technical skills but are, instead, terminated for inability to work with others in a collaborative environment that centers on clarity of communication. In my world, the humanities provide that clarity of thought and communication.” –from the teacher’s Statement of the Value of an Education in the Humanities

Carmen Noel, Visual Art, LEAD Academy High School, Nashville.  Carmen has been a classroom teacher for six years and will use her professional development award to attend the Books as Idea Generators workshop at Penland School of Crafts. The workshop focuses on visual journals for artists, specifically how to utilize the sketchbook as a medium for visual analysis. Her school award will allow her students to visit Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in order to utilize the museum’s collection to apply the content of the Books as Idea Generators workshop in a classroom unit.

"She deliberately designs units that allow students to express themselves, honor their backgrounds, and consider their place in the larger world, while learning how to critique other artists’ work as well as their own…In many charter high schools, a four-year art program is not an option. We find, however, that Carmen’s leadership of our Art program is an invaluable part of the LEAD curriculum.”—LEAD Dean of Instruction, from the Letter of Nomination 

Heidi Saunders, K-5 Art, George Whitten Elementary, Hendersonville.  Heidi has been a classroom teacher for sixteen years and will use her professional development award to visit a number of art museums in Washington D.C. including the Hirschhorn, Smithsonian Museums, National Geographic Museum, Freer Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery. 

"My fourth-grade students and I look at images of Greek Architecture and discuss how it reflects the culture of the peoples at the time, how it was created, and how these ideologies still influence our modern society. This lesson reinforces the students’ study of civics in fourth-grade social studies and the role of the Greeks in developing democracy.”—from the Nominee’s Statement of Methods of Teaching


Congratulations to all of the Outstanding Educator Award recipients!