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Press Release

August 30, 2018

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

Oklahoma History Center Nominee Considered for Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center partners annually with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History by presenting the Oklahoma History Teacher of the Year award to the state winner and then providing qualified nominees for consideration for the national award. The 2018 state award was presented to Jane Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Centennial Elementary School in Edmond. She is now among the 10 finalists being considered by Gilder Lehrman for the National Teacher of the Year.

Williams has won the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Elementary Education, the Oklahoma Social Studies Teacher of the Year for Elementary Education and the Centennial Elementary Teacher of the Year, as well as being listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She has recently begun her 29th year of teaching, with 18 of those years in a fifth-grade classroom in the Edmond School District. Williams began her career teaching seventh graders at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond. After 11 years, she moved on to Washington Irving Elementary in Edmond where she started teaching fifth graders. Nine years later she accepted a position teaching fifth graders at Centennial Elementary where she has been for the last eight years.

“Fifth grade is the year history comes together from the beginning of America and it is taught daily,” said Williams. “Often I hear statements such as, ‘I really like Social Studies,’ and ‘Social Studies is my favorite subject.’”

In addition to a $1,000 honorarium and an award ceremony in Oklahoma, Williams’ school library will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials. Williams also will receive an invitation to a 2019 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, a weeklong program that offers teachers daily discussions with historians, visits to historic sites and hands-on work with primary sources.

Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 education while also serving the general public. The Institute’s mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Organization of American Historians. For more information, please visit www.gilderlehrman.org.

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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