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. This award is generously supported by the Robertson Foundation.

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 2019 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year

Meet the 2019 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year

Mount Vernon is honored to give the History Teacher of the Year Award to Antoinette Dempsey-Waters, a history teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA. Antoinette is an innovative teacher who has been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Atlantic Magazine. She created a course on African American History for her school that will be offered in all Arlington County high schools in the 2020-2021 school year. 

A colleague wrote of her work: “Antoinette knows how to reflect on and learn from the past in order to change the future. She relished the “ah-ha” moments of her students when they are finally able to connect the dots in their learning, to go into the world and use their historical knowledge to understand the present.”

2019 Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Runner-Up

Jenifer Hitchcock, an AP Government and US History Teacher at Fairfax High School in Fairfax, Virginia was selected as the 2019 runner-up.

Read the press release here

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