Charlottesville teacher Christine Esposito today was named Virginia's 2009 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year. Esposito is a sixth-grade United States History to 1877 teacher at Walker Upper Elementary School in Charlottesville. Dr. Mark Allan, director of elementary instructional services of the Virginia Department of Education, presented the award today during a reception at the school.
A teacher for eight years, Esposito is known for creating lessons that incorporate technology in research and analysis of historical thinking and decision making. Esposito — using primary sources including notes of James Madison — utilized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to map out each vote of the Constitutional Convention to show students how geography influenced the creation of the United States Constitution. She has made presentations about her teaching strategies and use of technology at the Library of Virginia, as well as at annual conferences of the National Council for History Education, the Virginia Society for Technology in Education and at the Virginia Education Technology Leadership Conference.
Esposito is the lead social studies teacher at Walker Upper Elementary, a sponsor for the after-school Extended Day Generates Excellence (EDGE) Program, co-sponsor of the Student Council Association, and serves as a peer mentor. She is a "master fellow" in a regional effort funded by a federal Teaching American History grant to increase student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge and appreciation of American history.
"Christine Esposito inspires her students through creative lessons that bring history alive in her classroom," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright. "She encourages the use of primary sources and inquiry-based learning and is always eager to share her passion for history."
Esposito is the sixth Virginia teacher to be honored with this award. She will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a plaque for her achievement and is the commonwealth's nominee for the National Preserve America History Teacher of the Year Award to be announced later this year. In addition, the Walker Upper Elementary 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 sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which promotes the study and love of American history. The institute, founded in 1994, offers scholarly seminars for K-12 teachers and National Park Service interpreters. In 2009, the institute will offer 40 seminars for nearly 1,200 teachers at locations throughout the United States and Great Britain.