Two Social Studies Teachers Earn Top Awards
Posted on 11/02/2021

Two GCISD social studies teachers have recently earned very prestigious honors for their work in the classroom. Chad Hannon from iUniversity Prep earned the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award, and Lisa Smith from Cross Timbers Middle, who is a James Madison Fellow, was entitled as a Teacher-Scholar of the Constitution.

Chad Hannon (iUniversity Prep) - Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award
Hannon has earned the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award, which is given by Humanities Texas and recognizes exemplary Texas history teachers. At iUniversity Prep, where he has spent two of his 15 years teaching, Hannon teaches Texas and U.S. history. 

"My main philosophy when teaching history is that learning about our past helps us understand our present and future," Hannon said. "Texas history is important because it is our shared story, and we must understand each other if we are to grow together as citizens of this state. In order for me to have my students buy into this philosophy, I have to bring my passion for the subject to every lesson yet also make it relatable to them and fun at the same time."

The Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award was established in memory of Linden Heck Howell, former chair of the Humanities Texas Board of Directors, as a lasting tribute to her service to the organization and her commitment to the study of Texas history. The winning teacher receives a $5,000 cash award, with an additional $1,000 for their school to purchase instructional materials supporting Texas history.

Hannon has also been previously awarded the Outstanding 7th-Grade Texas History Teacher award by Daughters of the Republic of Texas Isaac Low Chapter.

Lisa Smith (Cross Timbers Middle) - Teacher-Scholar of the Constitution, James Madison Fellowship
Smith, a James Madison Fellow of the Class of 2016, has been entitled to be known as a Teacher-Scholar of the Constitution. This distinction is a culmination of Smith’s efforts as a James Madison Fellow, a program that provides educational opportunities for individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level. Smith is in her 13th year at Cross Timbers where she teaches U.S. History and American Discoveries.

The James Madison Fellowship offers $24,000 to outstanding teachers of American History to pursue a Masters degree in History with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution. Fellowship applicants compete with other applicants in their state, with only one winner chosen per state each year. As part of the fellowship, teachers attend Georgetown University for four weeks in the summer and take a course about the foundations of the Constitution taught by preeminent historians. Upon completion of the fellowship teachers remain in the classroom and use their knowledge to effectively teach the United States Constitution to their students. 

Smith received the fellowship in 2016 for the state of Texas and graduated in 2019 from Ashland University with a Masters degree in American History and Government. 

“I was born with a deep passion for history and always knew that I wanted to pursue a career where I would teach future generations the importance and value of learning about our nation's history and government,” Smith said. “In this way, students grow up to become informed citizens and use their power to vote. Receiving the James Madison Fellowship is a tremendous honor and a dream realized of continuing to learn about America's history. It has been an honor representing my state in this endeavor.”