Alysha Butler, a social studies teacher at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC, has been named the 2019 National History Teacher of the Year. Butler will be honored at a ceremony on October 2 at the Yale Club in New York City, where John Avlon, Senior Political Analyst and anchor at CNN, will present her with the award and a prize of $10,000.
“I am honored to be recognized by an institution that supports teachers and their efforts to provide students with a deeper understanding of history,” said Butler. “It is my hope to continue to help students of all backgrounds and communities gain access to and explore the known and unknown voices of the past so that they may develop a more accurate understanding of our present and serve as hope for our future.”
In addition to teaching 11th grade U.S. History, Alysha also serves as District Course Chair this year. A winner of the 2019 Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of United States History Award, 2019 GrantEd and the 2010 Miramar High School Teacher of the Year, she has taught at McKinley Technology for nearly a decade.
“Alysha is a master teacher who makes history come to life every day for her students by connecting all of her lessons to life’s compelling questions, diverse themes, and exciting literature,” said David Pinder, Ed.D., high school instructional superintendent for DC Public Schools. “Through innovative techniques, she engages her classes in Socratic seminars, role-playing pieces and editorial writing so they are able to place themselves directly in the minds and actions of the people who impacted the world’s most provocative events, while never forgetting that tomorrow’s history will be written by them.”
Engaging and inspiring students in American history education has never been more critical. As the 2019 National History Teacher of the Year, Butler will serve as an important ambassador for the teaching community and a spokesperson for thought leadership on the importance of high-quality American history education for all, particularly students from underserved communities.
“Alysha is an effective teacher because she makes her lessons relevant, which is not always an easy thing to do,” said Dr. Louise Jones, McKinley Technology High School principal. “She uses a variety of instructional techniques and strategies so that students can visualize historical events and then connect them to their own lives and experiences.”
“It was challenging, to say the least, to pick a winner among this year’s group of ten outstanding finalists,” said James Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “But Alysha’s innovative teaching methods, her dedication to her students and clearly obvious passion for history make her the ideal candidate for what this award represents.”
Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary through high school. The award honors one K−12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and U.S. Territories. Winners of the state awards receive $1,000, an archive of Gilder Lehrman books and resources for their school library, and become finalists for the national award. HISTORY® is a sponsor of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s National Teacher of the Year award.