Cross Timbers Middle School – Grapevine, TX
2016 James Madison Fellow
Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellow
Society of the Cincinnati American Revolution Institute Fellow
Throughout the years, Mrs. Smith has been a frequent attendee to Institute programs. She has proved herself to be an educator who always goes the extra mile, as she drove herself four-and-a-half hours to attend our seminar in Midland, TX! Institute staff have always noticed her passion for education through her positive additions to each discussion she participates in.
Her dedication to her students is apparent as she is constantly adapting and using new resources to improve her teaching. One of the resources which she uses most frequently is the book, “Being an American: Exploring the Ideals that Unite Us.” The resources have helped her by allowing for a fun and worthwhile way to teach the nation’s founding through primary sources documents while providing games and lessons that allow for collaboration among students. She also enjoys their ability to help her draw out meaningful dialogue between her students. She also thoroughly enjoys the online resources provided by the Institute such as online games and Constitutional Principles videos found on the Institute’s website.
She notes that her greatest achievement as a teacher is, “having students leave her class excited about history and desiring to pursue their own leaning of the subject.” She loves hearing from parents telling her that their children are spending summers and holidays reading about the same history topics she had taught them in class. Furthermore, she feels that she has a unique responsibility to teach future generations about our political system and their civic responsibilities because being an informed and productive citizen makes for a better society.
Our staff looks forward to seeing Mrs. Smith again at future seminars and Institute sponsored colloquia as she is always an enthusiastic and engaged participant!
Senior High School – Leavenworth, Kansas
KS SAR US Teacher of the Year 2015/2016
The Extra Mile Award
Civilian Medal of Honor Finalist 2016
2009 Army Spouse of the Year
Mrs. Stevens has participated in our Institute’s Founders Fellowship program twice, is a frequent attendee of our yearly Kansas Constitutional Conference and has attended prior colloquia. Through her attendance at these programs our Institute’s staff has observed her deep passion for history and American Founding principles.
She uses numerous Institute resources, including her favorite, “Liberties Guaranteed: The First Amendment. Mrs. Stevens has a profound love for the First Ammenddment. She notes that, “We have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the abridgment of the freedom of speech at our school and in the local newspaper. The resources found in “Liberties Guaranteed” have provided proof of the dangerous path our nation is on when we give anyone the power to restrict our liberties. The resources and situation united a significant diversity of individuals into a group that now stands up for those First Amendment liberties.”
Her greatest achievement as an educator has been symbolized in the letters and visits from past students who come in to discuss future plans, politics, and how they are filling their role as citizens.
Our staff looks forward to seeing Mrs. Stevens again in February when she attends our upcoming colloquia “Liberty and Popular Government under State Constitutions’ which will take place in February of 2017.
May 2016 – Stacy S. Moses
Sandia Prep School • Albuquerque, New Mexico
1992 James Madison Memorial Fellowship Fellow
2012 Gilder Lehrman New Mexico History Teacher of the Year
Ms. Moses has been engaging with the Bill of Rights Institute for the last ten years and has attended countless colloquia, seminars, and other programs. She uses numerous Institute resources in her classroom, including Supreme Court DBQs and Heroes and Villains! Of her experience with the Institute, she says: “BRI’s programs are substantively rich and therefore, no matter what program I participate in, I will always come away with content information that I can share with my students. This increased knowledge helps in the classroom with my students’ understanding of the different topics we cover. But, more importantly, I think, the example of their teacher continuing to pursue her academic passion is even more powerful.“
The Constitution and Bill of Rights are a cornerstone of Ms. Moses’ classroom as she seeks to tie founding principles to every topic the students discuss, especially during contemporary elections. These discussions have a marked impact on her students: “What I love most is when my former students return from their first or second year of college to tell me that they did really well in their history classes because of what they learned in my class. I have former students who have worked in State Government, and one who currently works in Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s office in Washington DC.”
A lifelong learner, Ms. Moses doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon! “I think the one thing that helped me as an educator was becoming a student again. My continued pursuit of my own education has translated not only into more knowledge in the classroom, but also into being recognized at school as the resident expert in the Constitution and early American History, AND, has set me up as an example of the value of continued educational development.”
April 2016 – Andrea Guy
Ms. Guy was nominated by one of her students for this award. She teaches AP US History, AP Government and Politics, US Government, and Americans at War to sophomores and juniors at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to regularly using Institute resources in her classroom, she has attended the Colonial Williamsburg Summer Teachers Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Lowell, Massachusetts and the Industrial Revolution, Teaching American History: Knoxville in the Civil War, Teaching American History: Henry Ford and Greenfield Village, C-Span Summer Institute for teachers, and several AP Summer Institutes.
When trying to connect the Constitution to her students’ lives, Ms. Guy stated, “I am constantly working to help my students understand the relevance and applicability of the Framers to their own daily lives. This can be quite a challenge, but it is one that I enjoy. So often, and I know this sounds like a cliché, students see history as full of dead people and dates. I strive to bring history and government to life for my students. I want them to see the connections and relevance that these subjects have on their lives. I use humor, sarcasm, real life examples, video clips, and vignettes— whatever I have to in order to achieve this.”
Ms. Guy doesn’t simply engage students with content, she makes a direct impact on their daily lives and development as human beings. “My biggest achievement is when students tell me that I am a role model for them. I had a student yesterday who told me that I affect more students than I realize and that they look up to me as the epitome of a strong woman, who has worked hard, overcome obstacles, and makes a difference in the lives of her students. When I scoffed about how much of a role model I am to my students, this young lady said “Ms. Guy you mean more to us than you know.” It brought tears to my eyes.”
In addition, she’s an innovative teacher-entrepreneur. After attending several programs that integrated archaeology, history, anthropology, and related areas in a hands-on fashion, she wanted to create the same opportunity for her students. Ms. Guy partnered with the Blount Mansion in Knoxville to create the Blount Scholars Program. “This program enables my AP US History students to engage in history in a way that is just not possible during the traditional school day with its restraints and the limitations put on us by testing and curriculum.”
March 2016 – Sean Redmond
Garden Grove, CA
Multiple BRI Programs
Mr. Redmond was nominated by several members of the Institute staff for this award. Mr. Redmond teaches government/civics and economics at Santiago High School in Garden Grove, California. He has also coached the boys varsity soccer team for more than twenty years and is a mentor for the Orange County foster youth system.
When describing his passion for teaching, Mr. Redmond stated, “I love seeing the light go on in my students’ heads as they understand their rights, responsibilities and what defines civic character and public service. To study the Constitution is to know that its strength is not in the document itself but in the people and I love to see students as productive members of society. It is always a blessing to see a former student years later as a productive member of society. I love working professionally with former students who were inspired by me to be a Social Science teacher. I love receiving an email from a student who says that some current event made them think of a lesson they had in my class 20 years ago and they wanted to thank me. That achievement will never be put on a trophy or a paycheck but it will be etched on my heart forever.”
Educating his students about the value of the principles our nation was founded on is of utmost importance to Mr. Redmond. “Teens have a unique ability to understand the role of government in their lives. They understand the desire to break free from “oppressive” parental and school control to embrace the liberty of running their own lives. They love freedom of speech but we have discussed that a majority of college students are in favor or restricting free speech if it is ‘offensive’. Students agree that avoiding offensive speech is a good idea but does a good idea trump the rule of law and does the government have the power to stop that under the Constitution? Those are the type of issues that impact students and the Bill of Rights Institute provides the resources that teach the historic background of the Constitution along with the resources for researching current events.”
In addition, he “wants students to know that the Constitution ultimately fails if it is a document only without the character and honor of the people charged with paying the price of eternal vigilance for their freedom. It is critical for the sustenance of our American republic for students to understand the Constitution and buy into their role in this ever changing drama. This quote hangs in my class: “Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it.” Federalist #42
February 2016 – Matt Engel
Mr. Matthew Engel was nominated by his student, Rowan Saydlowski, for the Bill of Rights Institute’s Spotlight on Success. Mr. Engel teaches U.S. History, World History, Geography, IB Regional History, and AP U.S. History at Henrico High School in Henrico, Virginia. Matthew is a Second Lieutenant in the National Guard and leads the Teens for Liberty, Freedom, and Patriotism (TFLP) student group at Henrico High. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.
Rowan describes Mr. Engel as “a true American patriot who greatly enhances his American history lessons with highlights from the Constitution, our traditional principles, and current events…On top of allowing for a wide variety of perspectives, he truly engages the students…No matter what the students’ personal opinions are, everyone feels equally included in and satisfied with his teachings. He is unequivocally a fervent voice of constitutionalism in a nation seemingly no longer concerned with our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Second Lieutenant Engel not only educates our youth and actively services our country in the National Guard, he is also a man I can truly look up to.”
Mr. Engel believes his biggest achievement as a teacher is “when a student comes back after years away and tells me how they are doing. I am proudest when they are successful.”
January 2016 – Kathy Saar
Wichita, Kansas • Founders Fellowship 2015
A.A. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
B.A. Oklahoma State University
M.A.T. Emporia State University
Participated in TEN Constitutional Seminars
My biggest achievement as a teacher is seeing my students go on and be successful citizens once they leave my classroom and high school. I have taught for almost 30 years in my current school and see many of my former students on a daily basis. I believe there are currently 10 working in my building this year. When I hear back from students how something I taught them years ago still makes sense to them today I am reminded of the many blessing I have in my life because of “my” students. This spring I’ll have one of my former students as my student teacher. The feeling of making a difference never gets old. I have this quote taped above my desk and read it daily (some days more than others).
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
I want to say thank you to BRI for all they do for teachers. Without your support my students would be less educated about the founding principles and core values. It is a pleasure to work with BRI and I shudder to think what my teaching might look like without the insight I’ve gotten from the BRI over the years. I am constantly encouraging other teachers to get involved with the BRI and always enjoy seeing my colleagues at BRI activities.