Jill Szymanski, a graduate of the University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development and a fourth grade teacher at Brandywine Springs Elementary School, has been named the 2013 National History Teacher of the Year.
Judges selected Szymanski, who received a bachelor’s degree in elementary teacher education in 1997 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction in 2002, from a pool of teachers from 49 states. Szymanski, who has been teaching for 16 years, is the first Delawarean to win the national honor.
The project that Szymanski submitted for the national award incorporated resources and teaching strategies that she developed during her participation in UD’s Teaching American History grant’s Freedom Project (TAHFP). This three-year grant partners the Delaware Center for Teacher Education (DCTE) with the Red Clay and Christina school districts to increase levels of student achievement by improving classroom instruction in American history.
“I received this award largely as a result of my participation in the Freedom Project and the fact that I am a lifelong learner,” Szymanski said. “I feel like in the past three years my history instruction has greatly improved and I attribute this to my work with the University of Delaware. The project has improved my content knowledge and given me the time and resources to make changes in my classroom.”
In return, Francis O’Malley, DCTE, and TAHFP project director, stated, “It is wonderful to see that our Project was able to inspire Jill. What we are witnessing is the power of a well-funded and sustained professional development experience that exposes our teachers to very knowledgeable, insightful, and talented people in the field of history and history education.”
To learn more, visit UDaily’s Szymanski Honored.