Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. In fall 2019, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners.
In 2004, Leslie Martin received her bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina and followed it up with a master’s degree in secondary social studies from USC in 2005. She began teaching US History and other social studies courses at Crescent High School in Anderson, SC that same year. In 2013 she joined the faculty at Powdersville High School in Greenville. She currently teaches AP US History and AP Psychology as well as serving as PVHS’s Instructional Facilitator. In 2015 she was selected as a James Madison Fellow and used the award to obtain a second master’s degree in American History and Government from Ashland University. She is passionate about the study of American History and seeks to lead her students on a quest to understand the roots of modern day America.
In addition to a $1,000 honorarium, Martin’s school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials.The National History Teacher of the Year Award will be presented by John Avlon, Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN, at a ceremony in New York City on October 2, 2019. Past presenters at the ceremony include the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, First Lady Laura Bush, former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Now celebrating its twenty-fifth year, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education. The Institute is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 history education while also serving the general public. Its mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources.
Nominations for the 2020 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy. The deadline for 2019 nominations is March 31, 2020.