June 8, 2007
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
Prince William County history teacher Susan Groundwater today was named Virginia's 2007 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year. Groundwater is a fifth-grade U.S. history teacher and social studies lead teacher at Bennett Elementary School in Manassas. Groundwater, a former television news anchor and reporter, left a career in communications and advertising to become a classroom teacher through Virginia's nationally known "career switcher" program. Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Linda M. Wallinger of the Virginia Department of Education presented the award today during a reception at the school. View video from Prince William County Public Schools.
Groundwater is known for her ability to bring history to life through the use of primary documents and "hands on" activities. For example, her students gain an appreciation for the experiences of Union and Confederate soldiers by examining muster rolls, learning 19th-century infantry drills, creating regimental flags and visiting Civil War battlefields. Groundwater's students deepen their understanding of course content by reading historical novels and by researching and writing position papers on issues and controversies in American history.
"Susan Groundwater believes all children can learn challenging content," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Billy K. Cannaday Jr. "Her approach to teaching history engages students and results in consistently high levels of achievement."
Groundwater is the fourth Virginia teacher to be honored for this award. Previous winners include Jamie Sawatzky of Rocky Run Middle School in Fairfax County, Mary M. Gunsalus of Landstown Middle School in Virginia Beach and Barbara W. Weaver of Thomas Eaton Middle School in Hampton.
The History Teacher of the Year Award is co-sponsored by Preserve America and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and is designed to promote, celebrate, encourage and honor the teaching of history in America's classrooms. Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to retain America's cultural and natural heritage.
An outstanding history teacher in each of the 54 participating states and territories is recognized annually with a $1,000 honorarium, a certificate of recognition and history books and materials for the school library. A national Preserve America History Teacher of the Year is then selected from among the state and territorial honorees. For more information about the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, contact Eric Sharfstein at (646) 366-9666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.