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Press Release

July 30, 2021

Contact: Steve Hawkins
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-0754

Oklahoma History Center Nominee Qualifies as Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY — Alona Whitebird, a teacher at Southmoore High School, has been named the 2021 Oklahoma History Teacher of the Year, an award presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K–12 American history education. As the state winner, Whitebird now qualifies to compete for the National History Teacher of the Year Award from the institute. The Oklahoma History Center (OHC) partners annually with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History by presenting the Oklahoma History Teacher of the Year award to the state winner.

Alona Whitebird is an accomplished and passionate educator. Her lessons for her Advanced Placement US History class equip students with the tools to engage with history critically. She builds into her lessons the opportunity for students to hone their reading, writing and analysis skills through a structured process. Her approach in the classroom is truly multidisciplinary. Whitebird is both a scholar and a mentor. She is a James Madison fellow and a highly regarded graduate student at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she is pursuing a master’s degree while regularly presenting and publishing her work. She invests time in her students outside the classroom, sponsoring several organizations on her high school campus including the Junior Class and the Social Justice and Equity Committee: Race, Religion and Rights.

In addition to a $1,000 honorarium, Whitebird will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials, as well as recognition at a ceremony in Oklahoma. “Ms. Whitebird is clearly a committed educator and historian,” said Carrie Fox, OHC state coordinator for the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year competition. “Through her passion to share the lessons of history with her students, she will continue to positively impact her students and the future for years to come.”

Nominations for the 2022 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open. Students, parents, colleagues and supervisors may nominate K–12 teachers for the award by visiting gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy. The deadline for 2022 nominations is March 31, 2022.

Now celebrating its 27th year, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education. The institute is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 history education while also serving the general public. Its mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.


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