Kentucky Historical Society
Donnie Wilkerson Named 2011 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 6, 2011) – The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) announced today that Donnie Wilkerson, a teacher at Jamestown Elementary in Jamestown, Ky., has been named the 2011 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year. The award is co-sponsored by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, HISTORY® (History Channel) and Preserve America.
Wilkerson has been teaching at Jamestown Elementary for seven years, after a diverse career which included owning several businesses and serving as the mayor of Jamestown from 1993-98. As a fifth-grade American history teacher, Wilkerson quickly became a leader with both students and colleagues. He has presented workshops to other teachers and has brought the past to life for his students through exciting in-class lessons, as well as out-of-class field trips to places such as Locust Grove and Constitution Square—extracurricular options he provides for students on Saturdays called “Kentucky Adventures.”
Wilkerson, a Jamestown resident, will receive a $1,000 honorarium and will be in the running to be named the National History Teacher of the Year this fall. Jamestown Elementary will be named a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School and its library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HISTORY®. Wilkerson will also receive an invitation to a Gilder Lehrman summer seminar and the opportunity to participate in KHS’s Kentucky History Educational Conference this July, free of charge.
The judging panel, convened by KHS, said “Mr. Wilkerson makes social studies come alive for his students [and] combines technology, artifacts and primary source documents to help students grasp the core content being taught. What a fun, exciting place for social studies learning to take place.”
A KHS representative will formally present Wilkerson with a certificate and the cash prize from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History at a ceremony at Jamestown Elementary this fall.
“This award gives us the chance to recognize great history teachers across the country,” said Lesley S. Herrmann, executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “It puts exceptional educators front and center.”
Inaugurated in 2004, the National History Teacher of the Year Award promotes and celebrates the teaching of American history in classrooms across the United States. The award honors one exceptional K-12 teacher of American history from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. The selection of the state winner is based upon several criteria, including: at least three years of classroom experience in teaching American history; creativity and imagination in the classroom that address literacy and content beyond state standards; close attention to primary documents, artifacts, historic sites, and other primary materials of history, including oral history; and evidence of thoughtful assessment of student achievement.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that creates and works closely with history-focused schools through its Affiliate School Program; organizes teacher seminars and development programs; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; and more. HISTORY® and HISTORY HD® are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Preserve America is a federal partnership program begun in 2003 that encourages and highlights community efforts to preserve and enhance the priceless cultural heritage of the United States as well as associated natural resources.