June 11, 2008
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
Warhill High School History Instructor Honored
Williamsburg-James City County teacher Candace Schafer-Southard today was named Virginia's 2008 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year. Schafer-Southard is an 11 th-grade Virginia and United States History teacher at Warhill High School in Williamsburg. Dr. Felicia Dyke, director of middle and high school instruction of the Virginia Department of Education presented the award today during a reception at the school.
A high school teacher for nine years, Schafer-Southard is known for her innovative lesson plans that help students experience history through the eyes of those who lived it by recreating historical experiences. Her students use technology to find primary source documents, paintings, photographs, music and other artifacts to explore U.S. History. From this research, students experience the lives of individual soldiers from the Civil War and Vietnam War.
Schafer-Southard's students interview relatives to make connections between recent history and their own families as they learn how events such as wars and segregation influenced their lives and communities.
"Candace Schafer-Southard ignites within her students a passion for history that she first experienced when she was a child," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Billy K. Cannaday. "Her students understand how the present is shaped by the past and the importance of history to thoughtful citizenship."
Schafer-Southard is the fifth Virginia teacher to be honored for this award. She will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a plaque for her achievement and is eligible for the National History Teacher of the Year Award to be announced later this year. In addition, Warhill High's library will receive a collection of history books and reference materials.
Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a teacher in each state who demonstrates a commitment to teaching American history. The award is co-sponsored by Preserve America and the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History. It 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.