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Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year

The home of George Washington is looking for Washington, D.C.-area teachers who bring creativity and passion to their teaching, generate a love of learning, and deepen their students' understanding and appreciation of history. The Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash award, an all expenses-paid field trip to Mount Vernon for his or her students, as well as the opportunity to participate in the 2014 week-long residential George Washington Teachers' Institute. The top finalist will receive free admission to Mount Vernon for up to 75 students and chaperones.

"Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness..."

George Washington, First Annual Address to Congress 1790

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Mount Vernon Teacher of the Year

Presentation Concludes the the annual two-day George Washington Institute for Washington, D.C. area teachers.

Selection Criteria:
  • Full-time teachers, with at least two years of experience, who teach American history at the elementary, middle, or high school level
  • Creativity and accuracy in lesson development and classroom teaching
  • Ability to integrate primary documents and material culture into the study of history
  • Dedication to improving their students' understanding of historical content as well as fostering their knowledge of the importance of the study of history
  • Ability to cultivate in their students an abiding interest in and passion for the study of history
  • Residence in the Washington, D.C., area. In Virginia this includes the following cities or counties: Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford, and Fredericksburg. In Maryland this includes the following cities or counties: Montgomery, Prince George's, Howard, Charles, and Baltimore. The District of Columbia is also included.

Application Procedure

Teachers may be nominated by a colleague or submit a self-nomination.  Nomination must include:

  • Resume: a two page (maximum) resume that includes mention of teaching grants of honors, curriculum materials created as well as educational initiatives or programs with which the teacher has been involved
  • Letters of Support: A letter of support from the teacher's school principal or county superintendent attensting to his or her skill as a history teacher as well as a letter of support from a colleague or department chair
  • Essay: a two-page (maximum) essay describing teaching philosophy and goals
  • Education Materials: A sample lesson plan or student project that highlights use of primary documents and/or material culture in the classroom
Application deadline: May 15, 2014

Contact: Danie Schallom,, 703-799-5082; Fax: 703-799-5212; (please write "Teacher of the Year" in the subject line); Address: Mount Vernon Education Department, P.O. Box 110, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

About Last Year's Winner

Katie Rippy teaches eleventh grade United States and Virginia History Honors; eleventh grade United States and Virginia History and tenth grade World History and Geography II. After graduating from James Madison University in 2009 with a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education, Katie joined the staff at Mount Vernon High School where, in her first year teaching, she founded Mount Vernon High School’s History Honor Society.  In 2011 she further engaged her students when she became the MVHS History Day Coordinator.  In partnership with several area museums, Katie undertook coordinating logistics for the Virginia District Five History Day coordinator.  In her first year coordinating History Day at Mount Vernon High School, Katie was awarded the Virginia Patricia Behring Award which recognizes outstanding National History Day teachers. Katie seeks out additional educational opportunities for her students which has led to participation in a number of programs sponsored by Gilder Lehrman, Mount Vernon, and the Fairfax Network.

In her application essay, Katie wrote that she adopted the motto of her alma mater, James Madison University:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Katie went on to say – "I am a firm believer that classroom environment shapes the student desire to learn.  I start off each year focusing on classroom environment, finding ways to make students feel comfortable with me, with each other, and with learning. Making learning fun is a key aspect to making students realize they can still enjoy life in the classroom." Esther Manns, Assistant Principal of Mount Vernon High School wrote in her recommendation letter: "If attitude makes the difference between getting tasks done and making them fun, Katie is the epitome of great attitude.  She inspires everyone around her with her dedication and caring.  On behalf of everyone who has benefited from her phenomenal work ethic and teacher leadership, I endorse Katie Rippy for the Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year."