The Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually to a Washington, D.C. Metro area History or Social Studies teacher who brings creativity and passion to his or her classroom; instills a love of learning in students; and deepens student understanding and appreciation of history. 
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Application Deadline

Winner Announcement

September 2019

Do you know an exceptional History Teacher in the Washington, D.C. area?

The Prize

The winner of the Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash award, as well as an all-expense paid trip to George Washington's Mount Vernon for up to 100 students and 10 chaperones (inclusive of bus transportation, tickets to the Estate, and lunch vouchers).

The Mount Vernon Teacher of the Year runner-up will receive tickets to George Washington's Mount Vernon for up to 50 students and 5 chaperones. 

Nomination Process

Teachers may submit a self-nomination or be nominated by a colleague. 

  • Online Nomination: Nominations must be submitted using our online nomination form. A resume, essay, letters of support, and educational materials must be uploaded via the online system. Nominations do not have to be completed in one sitting.
  • Resume: A two page (maximum) resume that includes teaching grants or honors, curriculum materials created, and educational initiatives or programs with which the teacher has been involved.
  • Essay: 
    For self-nominations, please provide a two-page (maximum) essay describing how you address the award criteria in your classroom, as well as your teaching philosophy and goals. 
    For nominations made by a colleague, please provide a two-page (maximum) essay describing how the nominated teacher addresses the award criteria in his or her classroom and why you believe he or she is deserving of this honor. 
  • Letters of Support: A letter of support from the teacher’s school principal or county superintendent attesting to the nominee's skill as a history teacher, as well as a letter of support from a colleague or department chair are required.
  • Educational Materials: Sample educational materials used in the classroom that highlight the use of primary sources such as documents and/or material culture. 

Award 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 sources such as 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
  • Must teach in Washington, D.C or the following counties or cities in Virginia and Maryland: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's.
Meet the 2018 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year

Meet the 2018 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year

Mount Vernon is honored to give the History Teacher of the Year Award to Kim Belknap, a history teacher at Herndon High School in Herndon, Virginia. Kim also serves as a Fairfax Country Public School DBQ Coach where she mentors fellow teachers to use the Document Based Question method in their classrooms. A National Board Certified teacher in Social Studies-History, she also serves as an AP Exam Reader.

Kim is described by a colleague as “a model of what it means to be a life-long learner. She continuously reflects on her own teaching methods, and shares her reflections at workshops, department and staff meetings”. Another colleague praises her teaching methods that “incorporate student-friendly learning targets into her own lessons and units. These targets empower students and clarify that they are not only acquiring historical content but also learning to read, write, think, and discuss as historians.”

2018 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Runner-Up

Theresa Early, a special education teacher at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia was selected as the 2017 runner-up.

Read the press release here

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