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Newcastle Teacher Named Wyoming History Teacher of the Year

June 13, 2008

Newcastle Middle School social studies teacher Sheila M. Munger is the Wyoming History Teacher of the Year.

Munger was recently notified by the program's sponsor, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America. She receives a $1,000 honorarium and is nominated for the National History Teacher of the Year award to be given in the fall. Newcastle Middle School's library will receive a core archive of history books and materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

In its fifth year, the History Teacher of the Year Award is designed to promote and celebrate the teaching of American history in classrooms. One K-12 teacher of American history from each state and U.S. territory is selected for the award. This year, only middle and high school teachers were eligible for nomination.

State and territory winners are selected based on their commitment to teaching American history, including state and local history, and evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom.

"I was struck with Sheila's ability to deliver great instruction in American History," says Sherry Tavegie, Wyoming coordinator for the Preserve America History Teacher Competition at the University of Wyoming. "Her lessons are wonderful and she plans fascinating projects for her students."

Munger has been teaching at Newcastle Middle for 17 years.

"I believe in taking the time to develop concepts as opposed to racing through the textbook to cram as much material as possible into their minds in one year," Munger says of her teaching experience. "Quality, not quantity, is important in teaching history to our students."

Munger received her B.A. (1989) degree in secondary English and a B.A. (1991) in elementary education, both from UW. She belongs to many professional organizations and committees and is active in community groups.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, founded in 1994, promotes the study and love of American history. The institute creates history-centered schools and academic research centers; organizes seminars and enrichment programs for educators; produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions; and sponsors lectures by eminent historians.

Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve America's cultural and natural heritage. The History Teacher of the Year Award, a component of the Preserve America initiative, recognizes outstanding American history teachers and the crucial importance of American history education.

"This award gives us the chance to recognize great history teachers across the country," says Lesley Herrmann, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History executive director. "It puts exceptional educators front and center."

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