LAGUNA HILLS TEACHER NAMED TOP MIDDLE SCHOOL HISTORY TEACHER IN THE NATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sierra Vista Middle School History teacher Jonathan Millers received the prestigious Junior Division Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award, worth $10,000 at this year’s Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in Washington, D.C. This honor is bestowed upon one junior division (middle school) and one senior division (high school) teacher annually. The recipient of the national award is selected from the affiliate winners of the prize. National History Day® has affiliates in all fifty states, Washington, D.C., China, Korea, Guam, South Asia, Central America, and American Samoa. Millers became eligible for the prize after winning California’s Junior Division Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award. Affiliate honorees receive $500.
“Teachers are the greatest resource a student has,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Mr. Millers is an astounding example of the impact a teacher can have on student success. His infectious passion for history inspires his students to not only enjoy history, but to see how it connects to their own lives.”
Millers has participated in National History Day – California (NHD-CA) for nine years. NHD-CA, sponsored by the Sacramento County Office of Education, is one of the largest state history competitions in the nation. Each year more than 40,000 students from 28 counties explore historical topics and create projects that are entered in school, district, and county competitions. County champions advance to the annual state wide contest which includes more than 1,200 participants.
“Mr. Millers has a love for history and seeing students engaged in learning,” said NHD-CA State Coordinator Craig Irish. “His passion is evidenced by the students who pack his classroom each day during lunch and before and after school to work on their history projects. We are proud to have Mr. Millers represent California as the Junior Division Behring Teacher of the Year.”
As an 8th grade History teacher in the Irvine Unified School District, Millers engages his students with hands on activities such as historical court case reenactments, or encouraging students to adopt the persona of a historical figure. Sierra Vista Middle School, located in Orange County, began participating in the National History Day® Contest as an extracurricular activity. However, after seeing its effectiveness to improve student skills in research, use of technology, reading, and writing, it was decided to expand the program. It is now a key component in the school curriculum. The annual school presentation of these projects draws more than 300 attendees, including former students who offer advice to the next generation of National History Day® Contest participants.
Winners are selected by a committee of educators and historians. The panel considers commitment to student development, creativity in the classroom, and inspiring students to engage with history. National History Day® teachers can submit nominations or be nominated by a peer.
This award is sponsored by Mrs. Patricia Behring, a long-time champion of classroom teachers. She sponsors this award to recognize the expertise, commitment, and hours of work teachers spend supporting young historians preparing for National History Day.
About National History Day: NHD is a non-profit education organization in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by Kenneth E. Behring, Patricia Behring, HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.